Tuesday, November 17, 2009


A student who was in one of my classes before came by to talk about a Herbert poem just now; she needs to write on it for another class, and wanted some help.

Herbert totally blows me away. In a way, I'm surprised by how deeply I love some of his most religious poems though I'm not Christian. I admire how difficult folks such as Herbert and Donne found Christianity; for them, it wasn't about easy answers, but about grappling with the complexity and difficulty, and working through it.

And Herbert, well, Herbert works through it so incredibly playfully and seriously.

I have the Medieval and Renaissance Text and Studies facsimile of Herbert's The Temple, but being a drama person mostly, I rarely think to pull it out and read, so today I pulled it out and showed the student. And now I want to reread Herbert. (That may partly be avoidance thinking about grading, however.)


  1. Anything to avoid grading!! But rereading old favorites is a lovely way to spend time procrastinating!

  2. I know what you mean. I find Donne incredibly moving, even though I'm not a Christian.

  3. I feel exactly the same way about Herbert (and I'm not a Christian either), so much so that I wrote an entire dissertation chapter about him. Bits and pieces of his poems ("Who would have thought my shriveled heart / Could have recovered greenness?"; "The land of spices, something understood") still float through my head at regular intervals.