There was an owl

From the preface: Notwithstanding the number of Nursery Rhyme-Books already in existence, there is still room for additional ones, especially such as, being set to Music, and enlivened by humorous Wood-cut Illustrations, shall thereby recommend themselves to the growing taste and sentiment of the day. Such a little book is the present. The Rhymes haveContinue reading “There was an owl”

Milne’s sixth hour

 Allen Alexander Milne’s When We Were Very Young, a book of poetry published in 1924 and dedicated to Mr. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne, who, according to Mr. Milne, preferred to call himself Billy Moon, contains at its end two pages of evensong called “Vespers.” Whether to the hour of sunset, to the moon, orContinue reading “Milne’s sixth hour”

Mary Oliver’s No Voyage and Other Poems

Mary Oliver’s first collection of poems, No Voyage and Other Poems, was published in 1963, when Ms. Oliver was 28. In a month from tomorrow, a new collection of poems will be released by her publisher under the title, A Thousand Mornings. In an almost fifty-year span of publishing Ms. Oliver’s work has remained trueContinue reading “Mary Oliver’s No Voyage and Other Poems”

Philippe Petit, Paul Auster, and the Question of Solitude

Thirty-eight years ago today, and six days before his twenty-fifth birthday, wire walker Philippe Petit began his walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. “Those who saw him hushed.” [1] In an undated interview from France Magazine that I found tucked between the pages of Mr. Petit’s OnContinue reading “Philippe Petit, Paul Auster, and the Question of Solitude”

A Book for Christina of Markyate

Christina of Markyate lived a span of sixty or so years in early twelfth century England. This Anglo-Saxon woman was born into nobility but chose a path contrary to the conventions of her inherited social class. At some point in her young life, Theodora (“gift of God”), Christina’s birth name, found herself at a crossroadsContinue reading “A Book for Christina of Markyate”


French author and 1947 Nobel Prize for literature winner André Gide says of his Amyntas, or his travelogue detailing his five-year self-chosen exile to the North African city bases of Algiers and Tunis: “’There were not very many to notice that I had ever written anything more perfect than Amyntas . . . To whomContinue reading “Amyntas”