Hooray for Dappled Things!

Hooray for Dappled Things! April 23, 2013

Bernardo Aparicio writes:

Hope you’re doing well. I just wanted to let you know that there’s a new DT available online, and we’ve posted a lot of the content online for free because it really deserves to be shared.

First, we just published an interview with Ron Hansen, who is both one of the most admired American novelists writing today AND a Catholic deacon. The interview has some very interesting thoughts on being a Catholic and a writer, and even some practical advice for aspiring authors.

The second piece is an essay that is ostensibly on form in poetry, but is really a terrific diagnosis of the post-modern condition we live in. Here’s a little excerpt:

In Walker Percy’s novel, The Moviegoer, existential searcher Binx Bolling speculates that “romanticism” and “1930’s science” killed his father. He asks himself, “Does a scientifically minded person become a romantic because he is leftover from his own science?” Quantification is the key to the modern physical sciences. We are subordinate to it in the scientific method and in everyday life far more than we are to “empirical observation”—that phrase with which the supposed rationalist among us flatters himself. We do not believe in what we see or experience; we believe in what others can count and calculate, so much so that we readily dismiss our own experiences, if they seem to conflict with some publicly established measurement. And so, though nearly all of us have turned the reins of health and history over to the powers of the numeric, we nearly all feel something “leftover” that cannot be entirely dismissed, but which cannot be counted either, and therefore seems not to count as real. The leftover is us.

Like those ancients prey to the Pythagorean temptation, most of us only accept the numeric as real; and, while our world of quantity may overwhelm, it does not satisfy either intellect or will. The typical fallout of this unhappy circumstance is for one to turn “romantic,” that is, to elect for a conception of the beautiful or the “poetic,” as light without form, love without reason, being without quantity. If the quotidian world must be a quantified world, then we want our art to be a refuge of inarticulate unity, of light and color without matter. Our view of the arts is romantic, even when it lacks the divinization of imagination and emotion typical of the romantics of the Nineteenth Century.

Finally, I want to point out to you a fiction piece and a poem that maybe would be of interest. The first piece is historical fiction, looking at the story of St. Robert Southwell, SJ through the eyes of his close, real-life friend Fr. John Deckers, SJ. It has themes relevant to our historical situation today given his martyrdom for the cause of the faith in England, and it might interest people all the more now that we have a Jesuit pope.

Finally, for the Easter season, we have a remarkable poem called “How to Rise From the Dead.” Have you ever encountered a “mirror sonnet”? If not, check it out. The effect of the form is tremendous given the subject matter.

In Christ,

Bernardo Aparicio

President, Dappled Things


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