Tag Archives: Eric Nolan

The Roanoke Times publishes my latest letter to the editor.

I am so happy today to see The Roanoke Times publish my latest letter to the editor:

Letter: Beware those who would criticize knowledge

As always, I am grateful to the editorial staff of this superb regional newspaper.  The Roanoke Times is the primary newspaper for Southwest Virginia, and its Sunday readership throughout 19 counties is estimated at 230,000 people.

I’m also pleasantly surprised that this particular letter seems to have stuck a chord with people the way that it did.  After it was carried by a number of newspapers in Virginia and by Newsday in New York, it was shared with a combined 733,000 readers.  That would make it the most broadly circulated single item of all of my writing.



I can never be “overeducated.”

So … the term “overeducated” has gained currency in the national discourse.


I myself can never be “overeducated.”


The more that I learn, the more I understand how much more I have to learn. The greater my knowledge, the smaller a fraction it seems of the vast and sprawling sum of knowledge to be gained.

It is like cresting a tall hill at the edge of my neighborhood, only to lay eyes for the first time upon distant ranges of mountains, lining a dawn horizon like endless, luminous, upward serrated silver. I am richer for having seen them there — no matter how paltry my hilltop now seems when I imagine it measured against them. And now that I know the mountains are there, there is a chance that I will someday depart to reach their feet.

I hope I never call myself an “expert” in any subject. The word is fool’s gold. Hubris clings like oil to the circumference of its rounded letters.

But shaming the pursuit of knowledge? Chiding those who’ve worked to attain it, as though their diligence and curiosity were character flaws? That is worse.


Let me tell you something that I have learned in my nearly half century on this planet. When people tell you not to think, then you should think. When people tell you not to ask questions, then you should ask questions. There is always information or a new perspective that the people behind such admonitions do not want you to gain.

And why should we trust those who would deny us so?


Adams_The_Tetons_and_the_Snake_River

Photo credit: By Ansel Adams – This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the National Archives Identifier (NAID) 519904., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=118192

The Salem Times-Register prints my letter about the defenders of Ukraine.

I learned a little while ago that the Salem Times-Register printed my recent letter about the courage of the Ukrainian people protecting their homeland.  You can find it right here.

Thank you, Editor Shawn Nowlin, for allowing me to share my thoughts with my neighbors in Southwest Virginia.



“Tonight, Love, Now, Let’s Go”

Let’s make for Maine
tonight, Love, now, let’s go, let’s just go
north for that ménage à trois —
where water licks us,
where salt air kisses us,
where waves draw warm arms over us,
where rhythmic tide will move, move, move us,
just we intimate three —
you, me and the sea.

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2022



800px-Leaf_on_beach_ogunquit

Photo: Leaf on the beach in Ogunquit, Maine.  Captain-tucker, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Roanoke Times publishes my letter about the Ukrainian people.

I’m very happy today to learn that The Roanoke Times has published my letter to the editor about the war in the Ukraine.  You can find it right here:

Letter: A hopeful heart amid despair

Thanks, as always, to the editorial staff of The Roanoke Times for allowing me to share my thoughts.



“Where Would We Go?” by Eric Robert Nolan

Where would we go, you and I?
The sea which breathes, in aquamarine,
its rhythmic, salty epic at our ankles
and inundates a foam refrain,
over and over, in rolling green glass:
the tide — the oldest poem — an immutable meter preceding
words, or man, or even ears to hear?

The unvarying sea
takes no notice of poets —
you and I, ourselves inconsonant poems,
varying as all our kind are wont to do …
faithless at the foot of the green, returning tide,
both our lives arrhythmic and
bitter with metaphor.

Where would we go, asalam?
The staid and angled mountains, vaulting up?
Mountains are always odes. The miles of stone
which rise to cut their rival heavens
lance the air, and spin the winds to narrative.
Those winds were singing long before us,
will sing when we are gone.

The mountains will not know our names
even as we whisper one another’s,
or the rise of your breathing where we lay there —
the blithe and meadowed slope that will not blush beneath us,
where we are ribald lyrics, songs out of our lawless senses,
lascivious and nearly wordless.

Where would we go, my muse?
The river that rushes like a fugitive ghost
absconding with its own requiem?
Rivers’ roars are always dirges, for rivers run past
lives beside their banks. Lifetimes
are as seasons to them, always ending.

This timeless river
is unconcerned for poets
and will not slow to note us.
Only our own faces on its hastening, dim and opaque surface.
answer back our gaze. We are elegies, reflected
in heedless, racing waters moving on.

Stay with me, here, for now.
We have two temporary
yet temperate pages all our own
over which is the script our ardor:
my gray-grizzled Irish cheek and your Iranian skin,
to read and study, see and know, slowly and tenderly, in this ordinary room,
in this little city, in this waning light, in this fleeting moment,
in these fleeting lives.

I am inelegant free verse, but you …
you are my perfect poem.
We will draw the sheets over us,
over our moving euphony,
and frame to evoke one another —
the rounded warmth of your white shoulder,
the cadence of my pulse.
We will hear one another, and speak
in sedulous repetition
the particular rhythm of each of our names,
measured in the meter of tremulous breath.

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2022



Santorin (GR), Exomytis, Vlychada BeachDietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Santorin (GR), Exomytis, Vlychada Beach — 2017 — 2999 (bw)” / CC BY-SA 4.0