“Felix Randal” as a Pattern for Remembering Hopkins

In the sonnet, “Felix Randal,” Gerard Manley Hopkins remembers a local Liverpool blacksmith that he had ministered to. Thanks to the work of Alfred Thomas, we even know who inspired this poem. One of Hopkins’s parishioners, A Liverpool farrier by the name of Felix Spence, died after suffering from an illness in 1880. Usually when … More “Felix Randal” as a Pattern for Remembering Hopkins

“I am Happy, so Happy”: Remembering Father Gerard

Today is the anniversary of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s death in 1889. The poet died of typhoid fever while in Ireland. 127 years ago, the “blue-bleak ember” of Fr. Gerard’s life fell and broke and revealed an “immortal diamond.” The following post was originally posted here on June 11th, 2015. I was on a plane holding … More “I am Happy, so Happy”: Remembering Father Gerard

In Memoriam

Happy Memorial Day! I thought we would celebrate with Tennyson’s great elegy, In Memoriam. Completed in 1849, the poem follows Tennyson’s grief over the death of his friend, Arthur Hallam, in 1833. Through all 133 cantos of the poem, we share in the speaker’s mourning, but I’ve personally always found Canto 121 to be the most … More In Memoriam

Reading by a Dim Candle

The poor English teacher in the frosty garret, reading by a dim candle guttering in the wintry air, a letter simply good-natured–nothing more: though that good-nature then seemed to me god-like–was happier than most queens in palaces. – Villette That strange moment when you identify a little too much with Charlotte Brontë…