Atheists Will Enjoy These Poems (Really!)

Poet Philip Appleman has appeared on Moyers & Company a number of times over the years and there’s a collection of him reading his work on Bill Moyers‘ site.

Atheists might appreciate a couple of them in particular :)

“A Simple Explanation for Everything” (I love this one)

“Five Easy Prayers for Pagans” (from the book Karma, Dharma, Pudding & Pie)

Damn, I want to hear more from this guy…

Incidentally, Appleman is the “Poet Laureate” of the Freedom From Religion Foundation :)

(Thanks to Deanna for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    Fyi, your “more” link is broken… 

    Silly old men :D

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Fixed! Thanks :)

  • Annie

    It made me smile to read that the FFRF has a poet laureate. 

  • Eisbaer Salar

    I love Philip Appleman’s stuff.  I used to perform “Noah” for my high school’s forensics team years ago.

  • Ken McKnight

    I’m wondering why the first line of the poem is so close to the first line of Byron’s “The Destruction of Sennacherib”:  “The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold. . . ”  Is Appleman consciously echoing Byron?  The two poems are clearly referring to two different Biblical stories.

  • Deanna

    Thanks, Hemant, for writing about the poetry of Philip Appleman and his recent appearance on “Moyers & Company”.  The entire interview is now up on the website, with lots more poems being read by the poet, himself.  If you watch/listen/read only one poem, be sure to listen to Appleman read the poem about his mother, Gertrude.  It’s heartbreaking (at 14:50).  BTW, Appleman does refer to himself in the interview with Moyers as an atheist and humanist (at 14:37), and explains his process of being raised in a fundamentalist church and moving towards atheism (beginning at the 13:26 mark). 
    http://billmoyers.com/segment/the-poetry-of-philip-appleman/

  • Deanna

    I found Philip Appleman’s poem, Gertrude, on the American Humanist website.  It’s so sad to realize he is writing about his mother.  Here it is:  
    GERTRUDE
    Gertrude Appleman, 1901-1976
    God is all-knowing, all-present, and almighty.
                –A Catechism of Christian Doctrine
    I wish that all the peoplewho peddle Godcould watch my mother die:could see the skin andgristle weighing onlyseventy-nine, every stubbornpound of flesh a smalldeath.
    I wish the people who peddle Godcould see her young,lovely in gardens andbeautiful in kitchens, and could watchthe hand of God slowlytwisting her knees and fingerstill they gnarled and knotted, settling infor thirty years of pain.
    I wish the people who peddle Godcould see the lightningof His cancer stabbingher, that small frametensing at every shock,her sweet contralto scratchy withthe Lord’s infection: Philip,I want to die.
    I wish I had them gathered round,those preachers, popes, rabbis,imams, priests – everypious shill on God’s payroll – and Iwould pull the sheets from my mother’s brittle body,and they would fall on their knees at her bedsideto be forgiven all theirfaith.
     http://www.americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/2011-10-humanist-voices-in-verse-philip-appleman

    • Annie

        I am not a poet, but have studied poetry for years to learn as a writer
      and use certain techniques in prose.  Some poets’ works seem so alien
      to me… no matter how often I read them, I just can’t get where they
      are going.  Others speak to me immediately and their poems seem to be
      written just for me.  Appelman is of the latter group.  I enjoy his work
      too.

  • Deanna

    It looks like Amazon is out of stock on Appelman’s latest poetry book.  That’s good news because you can now show your support of Appleman by shopping at the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s online book shop.  
    http://ffrf.org/shop/books/

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzanne.robichaud.71 Suzanne Robichaud

    Love it!


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