Category Archives: Uncategorized

download Ecotone and/or Spleen (my 2 new poetry chapbooks)

Ecotone // 14 poems by Peter Schmidt, about wandering through the natural world … A downloadable pdf, from Pixel Press / Swarthmore You may also download SPLEEN (political poems protesting + reimagining the fate of society and nature). =====For either or … Continue reading

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On Contradictions in Nathaniel Rich’s “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change.”

Nathaniel Rich’s issue-long essay in this week’s New York Times Magazine receives a title worthy of a play: “Losing Earth: The decade we almost stopped climate change. A tragedy in two acts.” It’s definitely worth an hour or two of … Continue reading

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Garbage In / Garbage Out: Why is Facebook Using Its Powerful Resources To Help Teachers Teach Bad Common Core Standards In AP English Classes?

Facebook on its Summit Learning Resources Site for K-12 English & Language Arts teachers is now promoting ready-made lesson plans for teaching Common Core standards. Sounds good, right? But many of the lesson plans are screwed up because so many … Continue reading

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On Canons and “Headcanons” in Cultural Studies

Yes, “headcanons” (one word) is a term. Has been for awhile. Interesting conundrum: while the idea of an agreed-upon “canon” has been treated with increasing skepticism in literary studies (though not by all parties), the concept thrives in popular culture, … Continue reading

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Why Judith Butler is Overrated

One of many reasons why Judith Butler is grossly overrated: Here’s a passage from her new book Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, followed by 2 brief comments of mine, one a translation of Butler-ese into regular English. Overall, … Continue reading

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On Colson Whitehead’s new novel, _The Underground Railroad_

Three chapters of Colson Whitehead’s new novel, The Underground Railroad, were published as a special print supplement to last Sunday’s New York Times (Aug. 7). What’s so extraordinary about the novel’s vision is not that he makes the “underground railroad” … Continue reading

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Brief comments on Terry Eagleton’s latest book, Culture (2016)

See Culture by Terry Eagleton My rating: 4 of 5 stars Lucid and concise readings of Burke, Swift, Herder, Austen, Marx, Wilde, and T.S. Eliot, among others. The book is less focused and persuasive when Eagleton traces the long and … Continue reading

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Freedom and Fate in Game of Thrones, “The Door”

For Game of Thrones fans, please don’t read this until you’ve seen Season 6, Episode 5 (“The Door”). Normally stories about time travel dramatize the power of human agency, our potential ability to know and intervene in past events and … Continue reading

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On David Bowie’s Bluebird

Re David Bowie’s “Lazarus,” from his brilliant final album, Blackstar, the New York Times has this to say: “The song is a man in total distress, and then finding a way out, in his imagination, so he could still be … Continue reading

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On Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, 1962 and 2015

My recent essay on Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel, comparing it with Amazon’s 2015 The Man in the High Castle‘s 10 episodes. Summary: Amazon’s adaptation of Dick’s novel is a brilliant transformation of it just right for America’s flirtation with … Continue reading

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