Divergent

(This post is one in a series about the best books ever written. The first post in the series is here.)

Divergent, the first of the series by the same name from Veronica Roth, is a clear demonstration not only of what youth-focused literature can be but what it should be. Really, most of the other writers in this genre should simply be ashamed of what they’ve been producing all this time. This is a continuation of my assertion that to be a good book it has to teach three different lessons — one about language and how it can be used to shape and create and be creative, one about morality, ethics, spirituality and the like and one about humanity, the world around us, our existence. more...

Angels and Demons

(This post is one in a series about the best books ever written. The first post in the series is here.)

I did indeed like Angels and Demons enough to put it on my list of best books ever written. And that may shock some people — actually, that does shock a lot of people and I have heard that particular question many times. Usually a book is either good or popular. And that’s not an unusual differentiation to make about things. Popular music is rarely well written. Popular fiction is usually mindless drivel written by people who are looking for sensational reactions rather than depth of understanding. Popular art is usually something that makes people cringe rather than sit and stare at it. more...

Writing a Future?

As many of you are no doubt aware, I teach creative writing at the undergraduate and graduate levels, sometimes to high school students, too. I believe that there is a far too significant break between the study of literature and that of writing. We often are forced to pretend that there is reading and there is writing and that these two are only loosely connected. Some of this comes from the ridiculous concentration in literature study on historic rather than contemporary literature. We force students to read books that are both outdated and not all that well-written by modern standards and I have truly no idea why. I have often campaigned against the use of “classic literature” or “the greats” in education but I have had little impact even in my own institutions. more...

Revolution?

(this poem is dedicated to those who work for a true and lasting solution to the problems we have caused our beautiful mother earth)

you speak of panic,
of crisis,
yet i look around me
and the air is warm
and the sun shines
and my skin radiates the pleasure
of the touch of its face
while you scream
and dance
and wave signs
and i am confused

is what we experience beautiful or not?
where is the fire?
why are we all running toward a cliff
ready to jump off
into the abyss
as if we are being chased
when there is nothing there
except yesterday
pushing us faster
and faster
toward tomorrow
when we fly into space
and crash on the rocks below
without even the comfort of deep water
to break our fall? more...