Author Archives: RJ

About RJ

Retired English prof (Ph. D., UNC), who likes to garden, blog, pursue languages (especially Spanish) and to share in serious discussion on vital issues such as global warming, the role of government, energy alternatives, etc. Am a vegan and, yes, a tree hugger enthusiastically. If you write me, I'll answer.

Reflections on the 2017 Philip Larkin Exhibition at Hull

The Guardian (July 4, 2017) features a review of a favorite poet of mine, Philip Larkin, in connection with a current exhibit of Larkin artifacts at Hull’s Brynmore Jones Library, where he was a librarian for many years. It notes … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Perhaps Someday We Will Learn How to Live

Every morning I awaken to a country bristling with hate, intolerance, and violence.  Trump bullied his way to the presidency, exploiting public anxieties, e. g., steel belt resentment of jobs sent abroad, latent fears of a changing demographic replacing White … Continue reading

Posted in Lifestyle, Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

America’s Unofficial Poet Laureate: Mary Oliver

Judging by her phenomenal sales, Mary Oliver surely rates as America’s unofficial poet laureate, and yet the anomaly that she’s never held the office since its inception in 1937. I have to confess that I hadn’t heard of her, despite … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On First Looking Into Milford’s Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned. –Edna … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Poetry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sarah Teasdale: “There Will Come Soft Rains”

Am in a poetry mood again, which just shows you how subversive reading a poet’s biography can be (Nancy Milford’s Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay). In doing so, I came across Sara Teasdale, a once in-vogue … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Mindfulness Warmed-over Buddhism?

Mindfulness meditation seems everywhere these days. Even the corporate world embraces it, e. g., Google, Facebook, EBay and Twitter. And in medical circles, it’s all the rage, particularly in psychiatry where it increasingly rivals pharmaceutical intervention as a primary therapy … Continue reading

Posted in Lifestyle, Psychology, Reflections | Tagged , | 4 Comments

She showed us the way: Reflections on Mary Tyler Moore

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 08: Actress Mary Tyler Moore attends NBC’s taping of ‘Betty White’s 90th Birthday: (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images) A few days ago we lost Mary Tyler Moore, not only an icon from the entertainment world, but … Continue reading

Posted in People, Reflections | Tagged | Leave a comment

Book fan, Barack Obama

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them (Joseph Brodsky) Regardless of your political views, our former president, Barack Obama, was a phenomenal book fan. How he found time for his passion baffles me, given … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Reflections | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Happiness: What it is and How to Find It

I came across this still proverbial Tibetan saying in my pre-meditation reading the other day that I wanted to share with you: “Seeking happiness outside is like waiting for sunshine in a cave facing north.” In short, our happiness must … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tibet’s Tragedy: A Culture Teetering into Oblivion

The horror began with the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1949. In the decades since, Chinese oppression has continued relentlessly, with several hundred thousand Tibetans having been executed, tortured or imprisoned. Commenting after her recent release, one survivor informs us … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments