Unhappy Endings

Most of us will readily acknowledge the value inherent in the Happy Ending. Christians particularly make much of it, and I’ve discussed in numerous other places how stories with such endings reflect the ultimate realities of our universe. But what about unhappy endings? Is a story that lacks clear redemption—or in which a character’s misfortunes are […]

The Disappearing Poet: A Comic Poem

Here I venture a bit of frivolity. One can’t be serious ALL the time. Well, one could be, but that would be no fun. This poem first appeared on Kelly Belmonte’s excellent blog All Nine, where you’ll find out what poem prompted this pastiche. The Disapearing Poet The world’s a prosy place at times, With […]

Elves, Orcs and Freaks: The Shared Authorial Vision of JRR Tolkien and Flannery O’Connor (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this discussion, I outlined several ways O’Connor’s description of the Southern Grotesque and Tolkien’s description of Fantasy are astoundingly, unexpectedly similar. I also pointed out—through a close look at each of their seminal essays on fiction—how they both consider their bizarre or otherworldly genres more effective at conveying reality than strict “realist” fiction […]

Elves, Orcs and Freaks: The Shared Authorial Vision of JRR Tolkien and Flannery O’Connor (Part 1)

It’s not very often you hear the works of JRR Tolkien and Flannery O’Connor mentioned in the same breath—at least not on purpose. Some might find this surprising. O’Connor and Tolkien were, after all, both mid-twentieth century Catholic authors who garnered serious acclaim for very unusual works of fiction. But for most, that would be […]

Poetry Redeemed: Tolkien’s “Mythopoeia”

Sometimes I write poetry when I suppose I ought to be doing other things: grading papers, answering email, doing laundry, making dinner. As I write this, it is almost Easter; we are beginning Holy Week. The long penitential season of Lent is hurrying toward the celebration of the Resurrection. Easter marks what has happened and […]

Literary Apologetics: Faith, Hope and Poetry by Malcolm Guite – An Extended Review

For as long as people have written, sung, and told stories about God, literature has been a means by which the Holy Spirit has moved individuals to draw closer to Christ. However, the role of the imagination in apologetics and theology has received, until lately, little attention from Christian scholars and apologists. Fortunately, this situation […]