Category Archives: essays

Shakespeare: his own genius after all

No one else showed Shakespeare’s style and quality over his or her own signature. If other people were really better qualified or prepared to write like Shakespeare, why didn’t they? This essay closely compares works of Shakespeare to writings clearly attributed to three leading challengers. The poetry speaks for itself. Continue reading

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The Future of Writing and Getting Paid

Writers, artists, and public intellectuals are nearing some sort of precipice: Their audiences increasingly expect digital content to be free…. Related difficulties are now looming for books.      –Sam Harris, “The Future of the Book“ Sam Harris’s essay is only partly … Continue reading

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Dickinson: rebel hero of punctuation

I think I see why Emily Dickinson uses all those dashes instead of commas and periods. (Someone else has probably said this before, but I’m too lazy to do a responsible literature review and find out, so I’ll pretend this … Continue reading

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Shedding punctuation

I’m reading about Shakespeare’s sonnets and I’m rethinking the value of modern punctuation. Actually I’m beginning to doubt the very philosophy of it. Punctuation in Shakespeare’s day, especially when used by poets and playwrights, indicated pauses for out-loud reading without … Continue reading

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Literary Humility

Andrew Sullivan (The Daily Dish, Atlantic Monthly, 18 Dec. 2010) re-quotes a passage from C.S. Lewis’s An Experiment in Criticism, quoted in turn by Laura Miller in an article defending “genre fiction” like Dan Brown and Louis L’Amour and so … Continue reading

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Why I’m Glad I Blog

I hate the word “blog,” but starting this thing is the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing besides teach literature for years and years.

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Your brains and your eyes

RE: “RE: Your Brains” by Jonathan Coulton: The English teacher in me cannot leave this song alone. I think I’ve identified why this song works so well for me. First, watch this video, one of the most enjoyable interpretations, for … Continue reading

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Making a scene

We had put together the first coffeehouse in Miami and I was singing in a bar called the Gold Dust Lounge…. We called our club the Coffee House and when it opened we all started playing in these joints and … Continue reading

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The “matrix nonfiction” genre

Once again, I’m indebted to Bryon Cannon and catsignal for the gumption to write this essay. • My wife Susan first made me aware of this class of expository literature. I believe it started when she was reading The Perfect … Continue reading

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