Illuminations

Pantocrator Lite

Whenever I write about the bad poetry or the un-poetry of contemporary hymnals, someone inevitably will call me an "elitist." The charge is strange. I have spent all my adult life bringing the beauty and glory and power of poetry to young people in college, urging them to remember that, until our own poor time, poetry was the universal human art—for the Inuit in his ice-hut on the Mackenzie delta just as for the pipe-smoking don on the banks of the River Cam.

I know one of the reasons for the charge. It is that nobody knows the art anymore. People who shrug at bad poems or . . .

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Anthony Esolen is a professor at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books), Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius Press, 2019). He has also translated Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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more from the online archives

32.2—March/April 2019

What Gives?

on Properly Rendering Things to Caesar & to God by Peter J. Leithart

27.2—March/April 2014

Poetry Above Compulsion

Higher Education Should Advance the Glorious Liberty of the Sons of God by Anthony Esolen

32.6—November/December 2019

Strategic Christians

The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis by Alan Jacobs by Jesse Russell