My apologies to the regular and new Litchatte.com readers and subscribers. My site was essentially offline for the last week or so. While I was working with the developers to remove some glitches and improve its overall appearance and functionality. One of our main problems was that my site was not responsive to tablets and cellular phones. Kurt, in particular, with the Themify.me team helped me to correctly scale my images; update my theme to the latest version of Elegant; make it responsive to portable electronic devices; and create a Menu Directory which displays, once clicked, all of the articles I have posted in each of my Four Main Categories: Poetry, Literature, Edgar Allan Poe, and Commentary.
During this period, I have been reflecting on why I have been motivated to write the Litchatte.com Forum. I believe that by considering the messages that writers of classic literature and poetry conveyed, modern readers can find valuable aids to help them negotiate their way through the moral dilemmas and difficult situations they are experiencing in their lives. I regard classic literature as any writing, old or new, which employs finesse to address important universal themes. I believe that by trying to understand the issues, positions, and themes of Master-Writers, we can gain valuable insights that will help us to move forward in our lives. Therefore, I have re-dedicated Litchatte as being a site to help people Find Modern Inspiration From Classic Literature.
If you have missed any of my recent postings and want to go back and read some of them, I will highlight the ones I have included and linked under the Four Homepage Menu Categories:
Commentary – My last posted article was about my visit to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts. Since I was writing it on the day of Muhammad Ali’s funeral, I associated the lives and passing of one of the greatest boxers and poets, and reflected on their relative contributions to the world. I also posted three blogs on interpreting Millennials to the Baby Boomers.
Poetry – One of my favorite songs has been the 1960’s, “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry. It intrigues me as one of the most striking examples of popular music with engaging poetic lyrics. What did Billie Joe throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge? How is the Narrator associated with Billie Joe? What does this song teach us about society’s lack of empathy for the suffering of others? Previous to the Billie Joe entries, I deconstructed three of Shakespeare’s most famous Sonnets in preparation for a Poetry Appreciation Workshop I will be leading this fall at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield, Virginia. In one of these discussions, I compared a Shakespeare Sonnet with a verse of the Tao to Ching by Lao Tzu (see an illustration of Tzu below). Also in the Poetry category, I have discussed the lives and selected writings of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, William Carlos Williams, Wendell Berry, and Emily Dickinson. I have also explained the methods I used to conduct a poetry workshop at LLI last Spring and provided several examples of original poems the students of that class wrote.
Literature – I taught Ernest Hemingway’s, The Sun Also Rises at LLI in the Spring and posted five discussions on this book. These focused Hemingway’s view of wounded soldier’s return from World War I (in “Soldier’s Home”), and the changing roles of men and women in the 1920’s. Future topics, I will write about as part of my LLI experience, include Reading Mark Twain’s, The Prince and the Pauper and Tom Sawyer to Children; Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Tim O’Brien’s, The Things They Carried; and Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre.
Edgar Allan Poe– Since I recently completed my Master’s Degree in English Literature and wrote my M.A. Thesis on Edgar Allan Poe and Science, I have been posting descriptions of the process and content of my research, both on the Edgar Allan Poe Museum Website and (with the Museum’s Permission) on Litchatte. My research began with the proposition that I would focus solely on Poe’s culminating and most enigmatic work, Eureka: A Prose Poem. In recent postings, I explained why I decided to switch from focusing on Eureka to the broader topic of Poe and Science. In my subsequent forums, I will be discussing Poe’s interest in science from his early education, through his career as a poet, a journalist, non-fiction and fiction writer. The conclusions of my study support my argument that all of Poe’s science-related writing leads up to Eureka, his culminating work. My study also builds the argument that, in making an attempt to better understand Eureka, readers will gain a clearer understanding of Poe’s previous works than they had previously.
Murray Ellison received a Master’s in Education at Temple University (1973), a Master’s of Arts in English Literature at VCU (2015), and a Doctorate in Education at Virginia Tech in 1987. He is married and has three adult employed daughters. He retired as the Virginia Director of Community Corrections for the Department of Correctional Education in 2009. Currently, he serves as a literature teacher, board member, and curriculum advisor for the Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield, Virginia, and is the founder and chief editor of www.LitChatte.com. He is an editor for the “Correctional Education Magazine,” and editing a book of poetry written by an Indian mystic. He also serves as a board member, volunteer tour guide, poetry judge, and all-around helper at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond Virginia. You can write Murray by leaving a Comment on this Blog, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by meeting him at the Poe Museum (see below):