“Instead of simply showing that the ideas and practices of secularist progressivism are wrong, [Esolen] also shows how—unlike Christianity—they are lifeless and soul-numbing.”

"Today, in this lifeless and soul-numbing culture, hardly anyone reads poetry anymore.  In the Introduction to The Hundredfold, Esolen blames the rise of free verse for the decline in poetry’s popularity, going on to give us a seminar in meter, rhyme, and poetic form that can teach us how to read poetry and how to appreciate it once again." - Gene Veith

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Aaron Blumer's picture


More from the review...

I blame not just free verse for our current loss of poetry but also the tendency, encouraged by both modern poets and my fellow literature teachers, to turn a poem into a puzzle, something to  be first deciphered and then interpreted, with the goal of finding the poem’s “hidden meaning.” Such an approach changes poetry reading from a pleasure to a drudgery.  

This has certainly been my experience. It's not always the poet's fault, though. Some poetry that is probably great (I'm guessing C.S. Lewis is probably in that category) is a tedious puzzle to readers because (a) we lack the depth and breadth of education and experience the poet is drawing on, and (b) we never learned much about how to read poetry. (I'm saying "we" on purpose.)

... but things that are too easy fail to satisfy, don't they?

I'm interested in this book. I don't really have a bucket list, but if I did, "giving poetry another try" would be on it. I have the feeling I've really been missing something important. Maybe this book is a good place to start.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.