On First Looking into Keats’s Sonnets

I want to talk today about Keats’s sonnets. I’ve always liked Keats—it’s hard to imagine not liking Keats—but I’ve mostly read his odes. Is it possible to graduate from an English-language high school without reading “Ode to a Grecian Urn?” I certainly hope not. But I honestly can’t recall ever reading any of his sonnets except for “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.” I didn’t know what I was missing. Continue reading

Spring, the Limits of Expression, and the Men who Won’t Fit In

IMG_1745How’s that for a title? Spring has been steadily growing here, and as I sat outside one warm evening, it occurred to me that there are definite limits to how much of my experience I can communicate in this blog. I add audio recordings to this blog to help fill in some of the details that photos can’t capture (and I’m going to post a video soon!), but there’s no way I can capture the soft, moist touch of a warm spring breeze blowing through the trees of a park at night. I suppose I could record the sound it makes, but even that would be difficult–it’s too quiet, too subtle–and without the accompanying feelings of the gentle night-warmth and the soothing way the wind brushes across your skin, it just wouldn’t be the same. Continue reading

Poetry (4): Weaving the World

Just bought tickets to the Association of Asian Studies conference in Seattle and realized that I’ll be following in reverse the same route I took on my first trip to China in 1996. On that trip I flew from Seattle to Beijing to Chengdu. This time I’ll go from Chengdu to Beijing to Seattle. On top of that, I’ll be arriving in Seattle ten days short of the twentieth anniversary of my first arrival in China!

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