Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

102—Becoming Cultured Without a Bow Tie—James Matthew Wilson

By Catholic Culture Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 05, 2021 | In The Catholic Culture Podcast

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Poet-philosopher James Matthew Wilson returns to the show to read poems from his new collection, The Strangeness of the Good, including his “Quarantine Notebook” series, and to discuss the decay and renewal of Catholic intellectual life.

Topics discussed include:

  • The present narrowing of Catholic intellectual life in conservative/traditional circles

  • How do you become cultured, in an authentic and non-pretentious way, when you’re not participating in a culture?
  • His ideal approach to reciting poetry

  • The poets we most need to be reading now
  • What needs to be done to build on the work in Catholic aesthetics done by figures like Maritain, Hildebrand, and Gilson

  • What it’s like to be an orthodox Catholic teaching at a merely nominally Catholic university
  • Trying to get through to college freshmen who think they already know that there’s no value in the Western patrimony, there’s no truth, and life is meaningless

Note: This interview was recorded before James Matthew Wilson announced his appointment as founding director of a new MFA in Creative Writing, at the University of St. Thomas, Houston (in collaboration with multiple past Catholic Culture Podcast guests, particularly Joshua Hren of Wiseblood Books). Learn about the program here:


The Strangeness of the Good

All interviews with James Matthew Wilson

Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.

Thomas V. Mirus is Director of Podcasts for, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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