May 14, 2013
By Brian Wright O'Connor Nearly 50 years after leaving the University of Pennsylvania for Vietnam, Lt. Col. Mortimer Lenane O'Connor will receive a posthumous Ph.D. today in a ceremony honoring academic achievement and sacrifice on the field of battle. My father, who set aside his dissertation to lead soldiers in war, will be included in the Class of 1968, the year he would most likely have completed his doctorate had fate not intervened. Born in 1930, my dad grew up in the company of soldier-storytellers on Army garrisons from Manila to the Old West, and watched his own father and three uncles set off for war in Europe.
April 9, 2002
War has a way of pushing passions beyond the battlefield's physical boundaries. That's important to remember, because hatred can grow in the absence of efforts to promote understanding. This week's series of events sponsored by the Philadelphia area's Jewish Americans and Arab Americans is just such a worthwhile effort. The events started Sunday at a Sufi mosque on Overbrook Avenue, where about 100 people - Muslims, Jews and Christians - came to read poetry and talk about peace against the backdrop of Middle East fighting.
April 19, 2010 |
Polite, respectful and friendly are words often used to describe Thomas, 16. Like other teenagers, he enjoys a variety of activities including playing basketball and baseball, running track, riding his bike, listening to rap music, going to movies, and spending time with his friends. He recently started rock climbing. A sophomore in high school, his favorite classes are gym, especially swimming, and English, because he likes writing poetry. One of his poems was published in the school magazine.
May 12, 1991 |
The faces around the seminar table in Phyllis Girard's cramped classroom were transfixed. On the video screen was an elderly man named Stanley Kunitz, one of America's leading contemporary poets, reading from his work. My mother never forgave my father for killing himself, especially at such an awkward time and in a public park, that spring when I was waiting to be born. The juniors and seniors in Girard's gifted class at Bristol Junior-Senior High School were viewing an introductory tape in a series called Poetvision: Poets on Tape for Schools.
February 6, 1992 |
Luray Gross thinks kids are going too fast, and she is trying to slow them down - with poetry. In a world where the constant onslaught of noise, sounds, and images leaves little time for "feeling," Gross is challenging the children to slow down, take it easy, let their senses roam and enjoy. And for four days last month, the fourth graders at Berlin Township's Eisenhower Elementary School did just that. They participated in a program called "Artists in Residence," a venture under the auspices of the State Council of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, in which artists such as Gross travel to schools throughout the state and spend time exposing students to their areas of expertise.
February 14, 2003 |
As if love weren't confusing enough, this year we're faced not only with the usual Valentine's Day hype but also with the ultimate in anti-romance, shows like The Bachelorette, Joe Millionaire, and Are You Hot? This is the "reality" of true love in 2003? Ten-pound chocolates, diamonds-and-thigh-highs-are-forever ads, and a bunch of brain-dead, money-grubbing exhibitionists competing to win America's heart? Impossible. Surely we long for something else. Deep down we must know that Valentine's Day is a crock, and Joe Millionaire is a happy idiot.
April 21, 1988 |
To the list of favorite poets read in Addie Toleno's sixth-grade classes, one was added yesterday: Julius. Julius, a former resident of a Philadelphia shelter, was one of eight men the shelter has helped who came to thank Toleno's class at Medford's Memorial Middle School for bringing donations of clothing and food each month. As his personal way of giving thanks, Julius - a former street person who lived until recently at My Brother's House, a shelter on South 15th Street in Philadelphia - read the students selections from "Poetry in Motion," a mimeographed booklet containing some of the more than 100 samples of free-form verse he has written.
October 23, 2003 |
Sylvia trumpets its true subject in the opening frames. "Dying Is an art, like everything else," Gwyneth Paltrow quotes, in a narcotic monotone, from poet Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus. " "I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call. " And from that moment, the movie, which opens nationally tomorrow, storms toward its inexorable conclusion - Plath, with a folded tea towel on which to rest her troubled head, and a waiting stove.
August 18, 1991 |
ANNE SEXTON A Biography By Diane Wood Middlebrook Houghton Mifflin. 488 pp. $24.95 'There is a popular notion, " observed interviewer Patricia Marx to poet Anne Sexton in 1965, "that creative genius is very close to insanity. " Citing the psychological troubles of major poets such as Robert Lowell and Theodore Roethke, Marx asked, "Do you feel there's truth in this notion?" "Well," replied the well-known veteran of breakdowns, suicide attempts and general dysfunction, "their genius is more important than their disease.
October 7, 1986 |
Robert Penn Warren, who in February became America's first poet laureate, gave the first public reading under his new mantle yesterday and used the occasion in Washington to lament the standing of poetry in contemporary education. He said that schools today gave "no general education" in poetry and that students often weren't even exposed to it "unless they have a special interest in it. " The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner said he didn't know if the new title would boost American interest in the literary form.