Welcome! And special welcome to our new English majors!

Everyone keeps saying that these are strange and difficult times. It's true, of course, but cold consolation for those of us who long to be together in these bright last days before Autumn offers better pathetic fallacies for our experience.

I look forward to seeing you all, even in virtual meetings, but I know I will miss you dearly even as I am reading your bright faces in my screen.

And we will fare forward. Even as the world around us seems like it's about to burst into flame, we will turn again to words, to the hope that in the words and in the death of words, truth will still sing - if perhaps a little more quietly, more distorted by lag. That is what lovers of literature do, and have done even in times more trying than our own.

Nobody ever promised us much more than a pilgrimage to death -- or they were a liar if they did. So all we can do is walk it, as together as we can, each of us bringing what vitality we can from the little islands of our lives in the flesh.

I look forward to the time when we can sit together again feeling the same wind, seeing the same light, moved together by words, with no medium but the air between us.

I find it particularly hard to write verse these days, but it has become something of a custom for me to scrape out whatever inspiration I am given at times like these.

Sparrow's Questions
Why won't love superspread
like a virus?
Why is every debate a blade
set to blind us?
Are those who won't rage
like Polyphemos
doomed to walk eyeless
with lying guides,
the only hope to find
a monster less kin than kind
who will march with us
to a precipice on the edge
of noplace?
And is that a good place
where love can find us,
a beach eaten by waves,
a goddess' embrace,
a sweet exile without graves?
How could an island
be a path to grace?

Daniel Gibbons
Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies in English