While studying at the University of Dallas in the early ’90′s, I was taught and influenced by a few notable professors, such as Janet Smith, Frederick Wilhelmsen, Wayne Ambler, Leo Paul de Alvarez, along with a few others. Following Prof. Wilhelmsen after many class lectures back to his office or at least to the university mall, I was regaled with many stories about Catholic intellectuals of the 20th century. In a few of those conversations two names came up more than once: Russell Kirk and M.E. Bradford. Little did I know that I would be reading Russell Kirk over the next 20 years later as well as referencing the American founding as understood by M.E. Bradford.
I did know who Prof. Bradford was at least physically on campus, because he was a large and distinguished man. On most days you could see him along with his white Stetson. I hesitated for a while to introduce myself, but I soon stumbled upon him in the hallway and made my introduction. As I was interested in the American politics, it did not take Prof. Bradford long to ask me what I was reading and to let me know who I should be reading. The conversations that I had with Prof. Bradford truly broadened my understanding of America’s culture and that we did have one worth understanding and defending. One of the cornerstones in defending such culture was John Crowe Ransom and the Southern Agrarians. Over the years I have learned that it is not political writings as found in I’ll Take My Stand, but the literary and imaginative works of these same writers that are the active approach to defending our culture. The experience of the poetry, through verse, drama, or fiction allows us to inspire our children. For those of us who teach in our home or at a school, our students can, revel in not just in the terror of Achilles on the shores of Troy, or Aeneas’ founding of Rome, but the long-suffering cause of culture, and the Republic in America’s War Between the States.
With the permission of our esteemed editors, I hope to present a few poems, read aloud for your leisure. It is a small way for us to share in the culture of America and experience the moral imagination of our own artists.
Donald Davidson’s “Aunt Maria and the Gourds”
Books by these and other Catholic authors available from The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.