Poetry Sunday: Robinson Jeffers

This month's Poetry Sunday features two poems by Robinson Jeffers, an American poet of the early twentieth century. Born 1887 in Pennsylvania, Jeffers was the son of a Presbyterian minister who taught his son Latin and Greek. Nevertheless, Jeffers did not follow in his father's footsteps. Rather than theology, he became enthralled at a young age with the natural world, and became an avid outdoorsman and follower of scientific discoveries in biology, astronomy, and other areas.Jeffers found his … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Lot's Wife

Today's Poetry Sunday features Anna Akhmatova, one of the most famous and critically praised Russian poets of the twentieth century. Anna Ahkmatova was born Anna Andreyevna Gorenko in 1889; she started writing early in life, and took the surname of her grandmother after her father forbade her to sully his respectable name by publishing "decadent" poetry under it.Akhmatova was a prominent poet of the Russian Acmeist movement, which rejected symbolism in favor of clarity and immediate, vivid … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Gravelly Run

Today's edition of Poetry Sunday introduces another freethinking poet, the American A.R. Ammons. Born in North Carolina in 1926, Ammons grew up on his family's farm during the Great Depression and attended a Pentecostal church, whose hellfire sermons terrified the young man. He first began to write poems while serving on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he pursued a postgraduate education and served in a variety of jobs before beginning to publish in earnest. His … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Portable Atheist

(Author's Note: The following review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Summary: Not "essential" as its title claims, but a usefully broad sampling of atheist thought for the reader who wishes to be better versed in the voices of nonbelief.The Portable Atheist, edited by Christopher Hitchens, is intended to serve as an introductory guide and perhaps an armamentarium for atheists. The book contains a wide variety of pieces, essays and poems - … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Stopping by Woods

There's just enough time for one final Poetry Sunday in 2007, and this one will feature another famous American poet with skeptical leanings: Robert Frost, the New Englander and national Poet Laureate whose work has become so iconic of the American experience.Frost's views on God are complex. In some of his letters, he calls himself "an old dissenter", "secular till the last go down", and said there were "no vampires, no ghouls, no demons, nothing but me". In others, he expresses belief in and … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: The Snowstorm

Compliments of the season, today's Poetry Sunday brings you "The Snowstorm" by the famous American transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was born in 1803 in Boston, son of a Unitarian minister, and at first looked set to follow in his father's footsteps. But before he was 30, he walked away from even that liberal religious viewpoint to found a movement that was entirely his own, and authentically American.The transcendentalist movement, which can best be described as rational and … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Church Going

Today's edition of Poetry Sunday features the English poet and novelist Philip Larkin. Born in Coventry in 1922, Larkin received a degree in literature from Oxford in 1943. Though he worked for most of his life as a librarian at the University of Hull, he was well-known and widely acclaimed for his poetry and his work as a literary reviewer and jazz critic. He received numerous awards for his writing in his lifetime, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, the German Shakespeare Prize, an … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Dirge Without Music

Today's edition of Poetry Sunday features another freethinking poet of the 20th century, the American playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay. Joseph Parisi's 100 Essential Modern Poets calls her "glamorous and bold", and notes that she was known "as much for her unconventional lifestyle as for her gift for poetry". Millay was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, the second to win the Frost Medal, and the English novelist Thomas Hardy called her poetry one of America's two greatest creations (the … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Selections from "Sunday Morning"

For the fourth installment of Daylight Atheism's Poetry Sunday, I'm presenting selections from the poem "Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens. In this work, Stevens' nameless narrator finds happiness and comfort in a humanist philosophy, expressing the view that the only good we can expect to receive is from our fellow human beings, and that this world provides all the beauty we could ever wish or ask for.Wallace Stevens was born in Pennsylvania in 1879 and attended Harvard University, and after … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Creation

The third installment of Daylight Atheism's Poetry Sunday is some time overdue. Once again, I'd like to welcome back Philip Appleman, whose contribution this week is the poem "Creation". (I will feature other poets - but Professor Appleman has written so many beautiful works, I can't resist sharing them with my readers.)The Lascaux cave complex of southwestern France is famous for its cave paintings: hundreds of strikingly lifelike depictions of horses, cattle, bison, stags, and other animals. … [Read more...]


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