Archive for ‘Best of 2013’


“Meeting as the tall ships do, passing in the channel…”

As 2013 limps to its grave, I’m tempted to regret how rarely I update this blog—but then I look back and find myself pleased with what I eked out time to post. Thanks for visiting! Here’s the “Quid Plura?” year that was: a modest medley of medievalism, books, poetry, and (of course) gargoyles.

Medievalism flourishes! A new book explored the link between Renaissance fairs and the American counterculture, while tapestry-born unicorns popped up in a 1959 brassiere advertisement. This blog also posed a question fit for Grant Wood: What’s so “Gothic” about American Gothic?

Medievalism wanders! In my home state of New Jersey, a glorious house begat a weird fantasy world and post-Sandy medievalism settled over the Jersey Shore. We discovered a towering reminder of medieval Italy in downtown Baltimore and heard medieval echoes at a cemetery in Staunton, Virginia, and I concluded that I live in Washington’s most medieval-ish neighborhood.

Behold the gargoyles! I looked up to find gargoyles in rural Maryland. A famous Notre Dame grotesque showed up at baggage claim in a Colorado airport, while one of his cousins loomed from the facade of a Delaware pharmacy.

It was also an atypically Tolkien-heavy year. We looked into the newly published poem The Fall of Arthur, asked “What hath Gandalf to do with Methodism?,” and appreciated George Stephens, a “pioneering, erratic, and irascible” minor scholar in Tolkien’s shadow.

Translations abound! I dug up medieval radishes in Latin verse, tried in vain to translate untranslatable Latin, and worked to discern the tone in a short poem praising Charlemagne’s son.

P-p-p-poetry! This blog paid tribute to the late John Hollander and defended the much-maligned poetry expert “Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D.” My favorite book of the year was Thaliad by Marly Youmans, a remarkable post-apocalyptic epic poem, and I kicked off what I hope will be a new tradition: writing an annual Christmas poem.

No matter whyever or whence-ever you visit this site, whether you leave comments or simply browse in bemused silence, I’m grateful for your inquisitive eyeballs! Please stick around for a (hopefully) more prolific new year; there’s always something left to say.