Alum Laura Van Prooyen (poetry, ’10) provided a poem and commentary for Poetry Daily’s Poet’s Pick. Her chosen poem is “Holy Sonnet: XIV” by John Donne.

“Having grown up in a Dutch Calvinist home, the literature of my childhood was scripture. Every night at the dinner table, my mother read Bible stories of journeys, plagues, and trials, meant to inspire and instruct. The Psalms, many of which I was required to memorize, were my first poems. Language and rhythm got into my blood. However, the rigid parameters of my religious tradition and my family’s commitment to them prompted in me a battle. I felt constrained by narrow interpretations of Right and Wrong and grew to be an irritating thorn, poking: What if? Donne’s restless, searching energy in “Holy Sonnet: XIV” has become, for me, a new psalm. I am drawn to the music of doubt and discontent, to the deep-rooted struggle with faith. I understand the speaker’s impulse to implore a triune God to alter, forcefully, his soul.”

You can read the rest of Laura’s commentary (and the poem) online…

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