A Poem; A Prayer III

Even a bitter poem is a small act of affirmation, and I wonder if we can’t say the same thing about a meaningless poem (if such a thing exists). But Miłosz, who would most certainly disagree, is, to his immortal credit, a knight of faith, and I am but a knight of resignation. Like Kierkegaard: […]


A Poem; A Prayer II

“Whom do you pray to?” A friend asked me, once. “No one,” I replied. “Absolutely nothing.” We were eating fish and chips. I never pray. Why should one pray? What do you do? Supplicate? Haggle? Haggle with God? Maybe if my child were lying mortally ill behind a screen, I’d pray but it would be […]


Michael Gorra on The Portrait of a Lady

The critic Arnold Kettle once called The Portrait of a Lady a nineteenth-century version of Paradise Lost, a book about the end of a dream, about the loss of faith in individual autonomy; and the novel’s last pages will give that comparison some point. But many, indeed most, nineteenth-century novels are concerned with the limits […]