Sorry, Chance the Rapper. You’re No Poet

Recently, when Chance the Rapper woke up in his hotel room in Washington, D.C. before heading over to the NPR office to record his Tiny Desk performance, he had an idea: He should share a poem with the NPR audience. There was one problem, however. He had not yet written a poem. So when he … Continued


Kobe Bryant’s Poetry is Like His Behavior: Lousy

The best basketball player in the post-Michael Jordan era is the Los Angeles’ Lakers’ Kobe Bryant. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James is a freak of nature, and may well end up becoming the greatest of all-time by the end of his career, but Kobe Bryant’s five NBA Championships and killer instinct on the court was … Continued

Entertainment, Sports

Do We Suffer From Adventure Deficit Disorder?

What do adventurous explorers do when they’re stuck on a ship pinned in by pack ice in the Polar Arctic, surrounded by life-threatening cold, darkness, and dwindling provisions? The crew of the Nimrod Expedition of 1908, led by the famous British explorer Ernest Shackleton, decided to author, illustrate, and publish a book, Aurora Australis. This … Continued

Books, Culture

Tennyson and the Art of Motivation

The science of education produces more reports, studies, and expert opinions than any civilization can handle. A new report from the Carnegie Foundation looks at the science of motivation in schoolrooms today. For the unknowing, this is the interdisciplinary study of psychology, neurobiology, cognitive science, management science, and organizational science to understand students; what makes … Continued


Why We Read Poetry

Why did I stop reading poetry? I think a lot of it had to do with the death of Charles Bukowski in 1994. In college in the late 1980s and for several years afterward Bukowski had been my favorite poet, and his death made me lose interest in the art form. Bukowski represented the last … Continued

Books, Culture

The Road Not Taken

“Two roads diverged in a wood,” Robert Frost famously wrote, “and I,/ I took the one less traveled by,/ And that has made all the difference.” His poem addresses the age-old question: which path in life leads to success and happiness–the conventional and theoretically more secure one, or the riskier but theoretically more rewarding pursuit … Continued

Books, Culture

Mitt Romney’s Sex Appeal and the “Wimp” Cover

Does Mitt Romney have sex appeal? Does he need it to win? That this campaign has been dubbed the dullest campaign ever cuts like a knife into Romney’s most serious defect: he seems so totally boring and uncharismatic. This has led at least one person to ask if Mitt Romney can make boring sexy. If … Continued