Last week we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Also, some of us sort of celebrated Halloween on the same night. I dressed up as an Astros fan and that proved providential the following evening.

Anyway, as with most parties, there is a sort of after party that could go on for who knows how long. The lead up to the 500th anniversary lasted several years, so I can only imagine that the post-party goes on for at least a couple more. It will certainly linger into next week when ETS meets and everyone theologically nerds out for a few days before Thanksgiving break.

In light of that, I thought it would be a good time to catch up on book reviews. And this is especially so as they pertain to the Reformation. The obvious place to start is with a volume that Crossway sent me and I finally managed to finish over the weekend. Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary is hefty (just under 800 pages) and features quite the list of contributors. There are 20 to be exact, and 21 if you count the lengthy prologue by Michael Horton.

Matthew Barrett is both editor and contributes the introduction as well as a later chapter on the bondage and liberation of the will. If you’re keeping score at home, that means he’s the editor of several Reformation related works in the past couple of years (The Five Solas Series). Not to mention his work as co-author on John Owen and The Christian Life. Makes you wonder how many college football games he manages to watch each weekend and how far along he is in Destiny 2.

After the introduction, the rest of the chapters proceed, get this, systematically. That’s not entirely true though. The first two chapters after the introduction involve Gerald Bray telling us about medieval context and Carl Trueman and a Ph.D student/TA of his giving us the rundown on the Reformers and their different reformations.

From there, it actually does proceed systematically starting with Scripture, and then moving to doctrine of God and through the rest of the doctrinal topics just like a systematic theology would. Since it is a work of Reformation theology, the authors primarily focus on the theology of Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, and few other heavy hitters from that era. Each chapter ends with a short bibliography of primary and secondary resources so that interested readers can dig a little deeper.

One thing I was struck by while reading (although I did not cry out to St. Anne) is that this book almost had to be a team effort. Because of the level of detail in each of the essays on their particular doctrinal and historical context, it is hard to imagine any one scholar could have pulled it off. This is exactly what you want in a book like this. While it could have easily been a bunch of chapters that Barrett probably could have written himself on the weekends, it is instead a group of scholars brought together to flex their expertise muscles.

Because of that, I think the book fills a bit of a gap in available resources. If I wanted a snapshot of Reformation teaching on sanctification for instance, I could grab Gregg Allison’s Historical Theology. But, the section on that in there isn’t going to into much detail. If I really want to get a solid overview, but not quite a book length treatment, I probably can’t do much better than Mike Allen’s chapter in this volume (and then if I want more, I could read his new book, or see if he can grab Chipotle later this month).

In other words, this is a book that stands before you, justified by the works put into it. It doesn’t seem to have just been thrown together to take advantage of the Reformation party. Instead, it is a useful resource and entry point for anyone who wants to dig into the theology of the Reformation. The chapters are well organized and the bibliographies can take you further up and further in if that’s what you want. I’m glad I was able to read through this in the lead-up to the 500th anniversary, and I’m sure I’ll consult it more in the future as the need arises.

This time last year, we left the church we had been attending since moving to Florida. It was something we had considered the previous fall, and loosely the fall before that. We had actively tried to sever ties the summer before that. If you’re keeping score, that means our relationship with that local church had been uneasy since 2013.

This time ten years ago, I packed up most all of my belongings and moved to Dallas. I had just finished my undergrad and was about to start working on a Th.M at Dallas Seminary. In a sense, my complicated relationship with the local church started then. This was both because I would for the first time be able to actively find my own church home, and also because I would leave Texas with some fairly well developed ideas about what a healthy church looks like.

I would come find out later that Mark Dever had similar ideas and I hadn’t really done anything to reinvent the wheel. This was of course a relief, but didn’t help the situation we found ourselves in from 2013-2016. It also didn’t help that while we were in Dallas (I became a we in 2009), we were covenant members of The Village Church, a little Baptist church in Flower Mound that set the bar pretty high for wherever came next.

Ironically, it was because we went to The Village that we were both destined to end up at the church we did and also to have an ultimately negative experience there. Maybe “destined” is too strong of a word, but there was a certainly a trajectory set.

The Village of course wasn’t a perfect church, because that church doesn’t exist. But it was a church that sought to make the manifold wisdom of God evident through the way they did church (see Ephesians 3-4). It was also part of the Acts 29 network, which led us to search for a church in that network when we moved to Florida. At the time there was only one with a weird hybrid sort of multi-site thing going on. At the advice of the connections pastor at the main campus, we ended up at the campus closest to the University of Central Florida.

This was mid 2011. If you’re familiar with evangelical timelines, this is before the fall of Mark Driscoll and Tullian Tchividjian. One of those pastors directly mentored our church and pastor, and the other moved here while he was still on his downward trajectory. Both of them exerted a significant influence on the tone and theology of the sermons we sat under for several years. And this was in ways overt and covert.

In retrospect, this time period in American evangelicalism was weird. I suppose it is still weird, but I think it was the decline of the pastor as personality. Obviously there are still churches where this is the case, but with Driscoll and Tchividjian having been disgraced and trying to be re-graced, we find ourselves in uncertain ecclesial waters.

And in that light, I wanted to pick back up my adventures in ecclesiology series, but try to tie in some reflections of seminary ten years later. Not entirely sure what this will look like, but I need some processing space, and time has elapsed enough to start doing that I think. It might be messy, but so is church life. I will do my best to offer some level of anonymity.

I’ve intentionally not mentioned the name of the church or any staff so far. If you know the situation, then you know names and such. If you don’t, you don’t need to. I’ll try to be sensitive, but I’m also telling my story and my experience. My interpretation can be disputed, but I’ll try to stick to narrative details that are open to verification. And hopefully, along the way I can add some wisdom to both the seminary discussion and thinking through life in the local church.

But, there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to try and be consistent about putting thought to pixel.

The mountains are often lovely this time of year in Florida. However, this mountain is fake, and our only access to it is because we have Disney passes and it’s a ride in Animal Kingdom. Not this past weekend, but the weekend before that we celebrated our 8 year anniversary by a little getaway down to Disney. We essentially re-allocate our date night budget to maintain passes and take budget getaways in the off-season.

I’ve neglected blogging the past few months for a variety of reasons. Ever since Ali quit Panera back in February, we’ve been transitioning into some new phase almost every month. At this point though, I think we’re adjusted and starting to build some momentum. To give you an idea, here’s the lay of the land right now:

I’m still teaching like I have for the past 6 years. This year I just have Bible classes and a lone once a week elective called Sports Journalism which is kind of a way to trick boys into taking a writing class, but also an excuse to talk sports for an hour each week for credit. I’m also the team leader and editor for an extended research project for Docent Research Group, and I still teach private piano lessons every Wednesday.

On top of that, we’ve stepped into leading an on-campus ministry at the University of Central Florida called SHIFT. Because of hurricane and other logistical setbacks, we got a late start, but we’ve been meeting regularly on-campus for the past month. December will be a time of planning and preparing for the next semester and as things come together I’ll tell you more.

Ali has been working at our local World of Beer, which in addition to being a place for me to read and decompress on the weekends, has been a place for missional engagement. We’re focusing on connecting with her co-workers and building relationships in order to love on people better. Ali has also been working twice a week at our herbalist, who is the mom of one of Ali’s high school friends. She’s who we go to when we have routine sickness and stress. Ali is getting over being sick at the moment, and I was sick at the beginning of September, but we both recovered quite nicely via natural remedies rather than antibiotics.

While it would be ideal for Ali to not work, what she’s been doing has paled in comparison to Panera, both in time and stress levels. And, like I said, it’s provided a good opportunity to get to know some people in our area that aren’t in the Christian bubble. As we continue to raise support (you can sign up to support us monthly here), we may plan to keep this in the mix.

In addition, Ali and I are in the membership process at a new church called NewCity Orlando. After our last experience, it has been an almost 180. I haven’t fully told the story of that, but I’ll probably start soon. But for now, after checking out a few places, we felt at home at NewCity primarily because of the solid worship and preaching. It has also helped that the pastor has told me that they want to be a church known for hospitality and spiritual formation, two things that are passions of ours, but mostly absent in our previous experience.

As far as blogging has gone, I’ve been allocating time elsewhere. I’m horribly behind on reviews, but am planning to start the catch up process soon (as in now). Part of the delay has been deciding how to divide reviews between here and potentially blogging through our on-campus ministry website. I finally realized I just need to keep them on here for now, but also add more non-review type posts. I’m hoping to ramp up consistency going into the new year.

We’ll continue to focus on more ministry initiatives related to SHIFT and pray that support comes in. But, I’d like to consider what I do on here as part of our ministry and plan accordingly. We’ll see how that goes in the next few months!

Before I really tell the story of the last week here in Orlando, a couple of caveats are in order. First, I’m writing this from my intact house that has power, water, and wifi. Second, what we lived through was not on the same level as say my friend Steven in the Bahamas during Hurricane Andrew (i.e. in a bathtub under a mattress watching the roof separate from the walls). Nor is like what those in Houston and the rest of Texas endured with Harvey. Rather, I’ve just been reflecting on what it’s like to live in the shadow of impending doom for the better part of a week.

About this time last week (Tuesday), I was at school and began to realize that the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic was headed our way. This was helpful in order to prepare, but also meant anxious limbo for at least another 5 days.

Actually, it was almost too late to prepare. Apparently I was late to the party and everyone else realized on Monday that we might be screwed in a week’s time. Wal-Marts and Publixes gradually ran out of canned goods, bread, and bottled water. It was however a great time to buy perishables.

By Wednesday, we were looking at a landfall from a Category 4 storm somewhere a bit south, or worst case scenario, an extended coastal brush that would mean Cat 2 or 3 winds here in Orlando for 10-12 hours. At one point, we were projected to have sustained winds of 80-90 mph all night on Sunday in the best version the models had to offer.

Now, people outside the state need to realize that because of the aforementioned Hurricane Andrew, houses built when ours was (2005) had to be built to code that meant that could withstand winds in the 110-120 mph range. So, there is no need to evacuate for fear that the big bad hurricane is going to blow our house down. Shingles gone and roof leaks are on the table, but structural integrity is more or less assured in our case at least (if it wasn’t, we would have evacuated even though Orlando is one of the last places that would have a mandatory order like that).

But, while the house might stand, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility that the storm whips up winds strong enough to throw a projectile through one or more of our windows. They may be double-paned and rated for winds up to 120 mph, but that doesn’t help if the wind throws someone’s garden gnome through a bedroom window at 3am.

Of course, this is why some people board up their windows. I inquired earlier in the week if our landlord wanted this done, and the answer was no. This was helpful, in that it meant he was willing to take financial responsibility for any damage. Also, I was off the hook for doing something I was ill-equipped and under-resourced to perform (plywood was basically gone by mid-week).

However, that meant living the rest of the week with the uneasy “what am I going to do at 3am if a window is busted in by a garden gnome or a random coconut and it rains into whatever room that is for the next 6 hours” feeling. We have a rather large house with some rather large windows that actually couldn’t be boarded up even if I had been able to do so.

There was also the vague anxiety that comes from seeing the recommended hurricane prep lists and knowing that even 4 days out, you can’t get everything on the list before the storm comes because everyone freaked out after Harvey and got to the resources first. Once I came to terms with the fact that we would have flashlights, food and water for 3 days, contractor grade trash bags to throw stuff into if a window broke and that was it, the anxiety subsided a bit.

But, that meant we were still 72 hours out or so, and there was nothing to do but wait. I spoke in chapel on Thursday for a bit about the fact that the most frequent command in Scripture is “do not fear,” and we worship a God who calms storms and walks on water. At the end of the day, I encouraged the students to avoid pics of destruction on social media and size comparisons to Andrew since neither of those things were likely to make anyone feel better. And we talked about God’s omnipresence and the fact that he already sees the bright sunny day on Tuesday and knows the outcome of the storm better than we even know ourselves. Whoever said theology wasn’t practical has never really studied it.

By Friday afternoon, we were in the 48 hour window where everything was starting to shut down. By Saturday afternoon, pretty much everything was closed and you either had the resources you needed or you didn’t. The course of the storm kept changing, but as you’ll notice in the picture, being on the edge still meant a Category 4 Hurricane could come straight through Orlando. When Hurricane Charley in 2004 came through our part of town (as a Cat 3), it looked like a bomb was dropped, because as you may or may not know, if you live in inland, you get the hurricane and any tornadoes it decides to spawn. So there was that reality to live with.

Sunday was the day the storm was coming, it was just a question of when and how strong. To cut to the chase, it ended up being something less than a Category 1 in our part of Orlando. We had a ton of tree debris in our backyard and we lost power for about 36 hours, but thankfully that was it. The rest of our city, and the state as a whole didn’t necessarily fare as well. For many, normal life won’t resume until next week. For some, it won’t really resume at all in a form similar to what was lost over the weekend.

Even worse is some of the devastation in the Caribbean. While I can’t fully imagine what that’s like, a lesser version of it was something I had to come to terms with earlier in the week because it was a live option. At the end of the day, Floridians often scoff at hurricanes and host parties when they’re supposed to come because they almost always fail to deliver a direct hit (especially here inland). This time around everyone seemed to be taking things seriously. And while we dodged the proverbial bullet in our part of town, not everyone had that same outcome. Once you’re on this side of the storm, it’s time to figure out who needs help and spread the resources around to help rebuild. I’m not sure what that looks like for the rest of our week, but I’m hopeful that this will be a time we can come together and extend the helping hand when it’s needed most. At the very least, I’ve got a trunk full of junk food to return to Wal-Mart tomorrow, and an entry to put in my gratitude journal about missing the brunt of a hurricane two years in row now.


You may have noticed I accidentally posted this last week with only three book titles. Obviously, that was a few days worth of reading, not entire month. And actually, this month ended up being the peak of the year so far. Rather than blurb each of the 20 books, I’m going to list them and then offer brief summary comments. I’m trying to ease back into regular blogging after starting strong in June and then realizing I needed a production break before school started.

If you’re keeping score at home, the 20 books in July brings me to 99 for the year. Well, actually, it’s at 101 now because we’re a ways into August. Anyway, here’s the list of what I read in July:

While there are still a considerable amount of theological and biblical studies in this mix, I think I diversified pretty well. Of the books listed, only 6 were specifically for reviews, which should start rolling out more frequently this fall. Chasing Contentment was for a member offering at Christ and Pop Culture, and you can read my write up here. The rest were primarily pleasure reads, although there are still a few “I feel like I read should read this book because it’s important to what I teach.” You can probably spot those with a quick glance.

The books that I care about on here (i.e. really liked), I’ll be thinking about ways to write about them in the coming weeks and months. My reading will slow considerably now that it’s August and there is prep to be done for both school and SHIFT. I need to get some systems in place and need to do so in the next week or so, but once they’re there, I should be back in a reading routine going into the fall.


Over at Christ and Pop Culture, you can read my article on Larry Wilmore’s Black on the Air. After listening to a few episodes this summer, I knew I wanted to write something on the podcast. There’s actually several that I’d like to do something similar for, but this was the place to start.

Initially, I wanted to take the article in a more political direction. Wilmore clearly doesn’t like Trump, but he’s able to make light of it. Probably helps that he’s a comedian. Beyond that, his political commentary is mostly irenic toward those he disagrees with. Unless you really like Trump, and then you’d probably feel like Wilmore secretly works for CNN or something.

I also thought about commenting on Wilmore’s takes on race relations. However, I don’t feel particularly qualified to jump into that other than to say, if you are, how we say, “white,” you might want to get Wilmore’s perspective on some things.

As for the actual article I wrote, it focused mainly on two episodes from the podcast. In both, Wilmore ends up having theological discussions with Charlamagne tha God and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I won’t recount that here, but here’s some of my conclusion:

While I can’t vouch for all of Wilmore’s theology, I enjoyed his willingness to engage Tyson and not be afraid to ask hard questions. Because he seems to be operating from a place of faith, he wasn’t shaken when Tyson brought up the problem of evil. In an unexpected place, he provided a good model of apologetic dialogue, even if one disagrees with the content of what he was defending. Wilmore certainly didn’t argue with Tyson, but he didn’t let him escape some level of critique and thoughtful interaction. They both seemed to enjoy their conversation, and I’m looking forward to the next time he’s on as a guest.

If you’re curious about what the apologetic dialogue was like, read the rest of the article. And better yet, check out the episodes I alluded to. As a warning though, the podcasts contain language that isn’t safe for the little ears. That’s probably a different article entirely, but I should at least let you know that the F-word isn’t a stranger in the discussion. I don’t think the conversation itself took any inappropriate or crude directions from what I remember. But, if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, you might not enjoy the podcasts as much as I do.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most people couldn’t tell a very coherent version of the story of western science. Sure, certain names (Aristotle, Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Einstein) could be pieced together. But in terms of the flow of thought and discovery, I don’t think most of us are there.

A couple of solutions are available. One is to get Susan Wise Bauer’s book The Story of Western Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory. Or, you could read her section on science in The Well-Educated Mind. There is much overlap between the two, including recommended books. The former is obviously more in-depth, so pick your path wisely.

This is the one section of the book is that is entirely new to the updated edition. It does round out things nicely, and helps to fill the lacuna in most people’s reading diet (is that mixing metaphors?).

As with other genres (novels, memoirs, histories, dramas, poetry), Bauer gives a 20 minute history of science writing (402-434):

  • The Natural Philosophers
  • The Observers
  • The Historians
  • The Physicists
  • The Synthesists
  • The Popularizers

She then helps readers learn to read science books following the three stages:

Grammar-Stage Reading (435-439)

  • Read a synopsis
  • Look at the title, cover, and table of contents
  • Define the audience and its relationship to the author
  • Keep a list of terms and definitions
  • Mark anything that confuses you and keep reading

Logic-Stage Reading (439-442)

  • Go back to your marked sections and figure out what they mean
  • Define the field of inquiry
  • What sort of evidence does the writer cite?
  • Identify the places in which the work is inductive, and the areas where it is deductive
  • Flag anything that sounds like a statement of conclusion

Rhetoric-Stage Reading (442-443)

  • What metaphors, analogies, stories, and other literary techniques appear, and why are they there?
  • Are there broader conclusions?

Armed with these questions, you’re now ready for Bauer’s annotated poem and poets list. These lists are good reason enough to buy the book for yourself, but if you just want the list, I got you. I’m mostly linking to the editions she suggests. As a general rule, she guides readers to editions that are cheap and affordable, free of extraneous notes (i.e. critical editions) so you can focus on reading well on your own. It is however helpful in some cases to have some insights into what the author might be up to you that you’d otherwise miss.

With that in mind, here’s the list:

When I was in school geography was one of my favorite subjects. I actually went to the state geography bee when I was in middle school because the spelling bee was too mainstream.

I like to know the lay of the land and often that involves reading maps. Or, taking aerial photographs when the opportunity presents itself. Because you’re curious, that is the mouth of Tampa Bay when viewed from above and the thin line across it is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Anyway, you may be (rightly) wondering what this has to do with the title of the post. Well, I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be helpful to do a little cartography when it comes to Christian publishers and authors. I’ll tie this into the semi-abandoned series on book reviewing by explaining how to connect with the various publishers if that’s what your’e into. But, mainly I’ll focus on differentiating the publishers out there and giving you some authors to know.

If I were to imagine a table of contents it might look like this:

  • Publishers
    • Baker/Baker Academic
    • B&H/B&H Academic
    • Brazos
    • Crossway
    • Eerdmans
    • Fortress Press
    • IVP/IVP Academic
    • Moody
    • P&R Publishers
    • Wipf & Stock
    • Zondervan/Zondervan Academic
  • Book Series
    • NSBT
    • NET
    • SIET
    • Counterpoints
    • Spectrum
    • PTMS
    • TCL
  • Authors
    • Vern Poythress
    • John Frame
    • Oliver Crisp
    • J. I. Packer
    • Matthew Levering
    • Michael Bird
    • John Walton
    • Cornelius Van Til

Now, that’s just a start as far as authors. And, if I’m being honest, it is a list mostly related to books I need to review. But, pro-tip, this is part of making reviews more interesting than book reports. I’m sure I’ll add authors as well. And, if you’re not clear on what the abbreviations in the book series list stand for, that’s perfect because then I can explain it.

I’ll probably get the ball rolling on this series some time next month. I’m open to suggestions to be added to any of the above lists. At the end of the day, I want to provide a general overview of publishers, authors, and series to keep an eye out for if you’re serious about biblical and theological reading. Hopefully, I can do better at that than I did at the state geography bee.

I joked earlier on Instagram that I had been taking this supplement and now I can’t find my phone. The truth is, I’ve been doing some summer reading that’s reshaping how I think about technology in general, and phones in particular.

It all started back in April when I did a brief review of Tony Reinke’s 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. In my conclusion, I said,

My main takeaway from reading the book is that it starts a conversation we should all be having. I know that my life has changed radically since I purchased my first iPhone in 2009. Whether for advances in productivity (thanks to apps like Things and Evernote) or the pull of imminent distraction (thanks to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter being accessible at all times), my daily life is no longer the same. Rather than treating technological advances as givens, we ought to think about the good as well as the potential bad they bring.

You can read the whole thing here, and I think still get a free copy if you join Christ & Pop Culture.

Around this same time, I also read Andy Crouch’s The Tech-Wise Family. My biggest take-away from that book is that I own my iPhone, not the other way around. It should go to bed before I do, and I should rise and shine before it does. I’ve slowly adapted toward this, but I still need to get an actual alarm clock for it to work.

Since then, I’ve been reading various books on technology, productivity, and social media. I mentioned this already, but after reading Deep Work, I deleted social media (minus Instagram) from my phone. I’ve actually since deleted my mail app (Inbox and the native Apple one).

Because I’m still sitting at the computer more than usual this summer, I still have access to the social media sites, and still probably check them more than I should. But, when I’m away from the computer, I’m more or less away from the computer.

And you know what?

Life actually goes on. Nothing has happened that made me reconsider the decision, and my thoughts have been clearing up so much I’m not particularly tempted to go back.

When I’m at the gym in the morning, I tend to catch up on blogs I read and even outline article ideas instead of scrolling aimlessly through Twitter and Facebook. It ends up being a great time to sort out my thoughts at the beginning of each day. It’s also before I’ve checked e-mail or anything, and shortly after I’ve gotten up. If you’re looking for a way to start the day with clarity, I’d highly recommend it.

In the midst of this, I’ve been thinking through how social media and technology use relates to ministry and teaching. There are a couple of resources I’d recommend on the subject, but I’m going to save them for our newsletter. In our next update, I’m going to how this summer reading is hopefully going to change what student ministry looks like in the fall.

If you’d like to read more about that, use the form below to sign up for the newsletter. In it, I’ll be sharing insights from my reading that I won’t cross-post here. I also go into detail about future plans for the college ministry as well as our prayer requests and needs.

Sign up for our newsletter!

* indicates required



Email Format

One of the little known facts of a good seminary education is that you learn to read poetry. It is one of the predominant genres of literature in the Bible, although often in books no one reads (e.g. most of the prophets).

While there are some rather obvious differences between Hebrew and English poetry, some of the principles of reading the former transfer to the latter. And, I would add that it can work in the reverse as well.

In that light, what Susan Wise Bauer offers in The Well-Educated Mind may help you read the Bible better. This is actually one of the longer chapters in the book, and begins with some insights on the way language is used in poetry before proceeding like the others with a history of the genre. After covering, novelsautobiographies,  histories, and dramas, this is the second to last chapter (and last in the original edition).

Bauer divides the history this way (324-343):

  • The Age of Epics
  • The First Lyrics
  • Roman Odes
  • Medieval Poetics
  • Renaissance Voices
  • Romanticism
  • American “Romanticism”
  • Modernism
  • Alienation

She then offers the questions you need to ask when making sense of poetry.

Grammar-Stage Reading (343-347)

  • Read 10-30 pages of poetry
  • Read the title, cover, and table of contents
  • Read the preface
  • Finish reading

Logic-Stage Reading (347-351)

  • Look back at the poem; identify its basic narrative strategy
  • Identify the poem’s basic form:
    • Ballad
    • Elegy
    • Epic
    • Haiku
    • Ode
    • Sonnet
    • Villanelle
  • Exam the poem’s syntax
  • Try to identify the poem’s meter (or meters)
  • Examine the lines and stanzas
  • Examine the rhyme pattern
  • Examine diction and vocabulary
  • Look for monologue or dialogue

Rhetoric-Stage Reading

  • Is there a moment of choice or of change in the poem?
  • Is there cause and effect?
  • What is the tension between the physical and the psychological, the earthly and the spiritual, the mind and the body?
  • What is the poem’s subject?
  • Where is the self?
  • Do you feel sympathy?
  • How does the poet relate to those who came before?

Armed with these questions, you’re now ready for Bauer’s annotated poem and poets list. These lists are good reason enough to buy the book for yourself, but if you just want the list, I got you. I’m mostly linking to the editions she suggests. As a general rule, she guides readers to editions that are cheap and affordable, free of extraneous notes (i.e. critical editions) so you can focus on reading well on your own. It is however helpful in some cases to have some insights into what the author might be up to you that you’d otherwise miss.

With that in mind, here’s the list:

Bauer then lists a few more “must read” poets that are writing after the modernists (and in some cases still writing). But, she notes that history has not sorted out the good from the great quite yet, and so I’m leaving them off this list.