National Catholic Register


This Week

BY Father Owen Kearns, LC

March 16-22, 2008 Issue | Posted 3/11/08 at 1:10 PM


This issue marks an interesting milestone for the Register: In it we publish our first article that is entirely in verse; at least the first I’ve seen. It’s Steven D. Greydanus’ review of the new Dr. Seuss story at the movies: Horton Hears a Who.

The Register thus joins an unlikely trend in journalism. Last fall, Alan Jacobs reviewed the works of Kahlil Gibran in blank verse in First Things. In February, many publications quoted a Chaucer-imitating satirist who had taken on the current archbishop of Canterbury’s stance on sharia (Islamic) law.

The reason that a newspaper doesn’t print articles in verse, of course, is that verse renders an article hard to understand, and the verse is usually a more pleasurable experience for the writer than for the reader. Another reason: Most readers would expect a verse article to be silly and a waste of time and thus skip it.

Mr. Greydanus has managed to avoid these usual pitfalls. He gives us the same kind of information and insight he normally would, only he rhymes it. The form even fits the subject matter in this case. If you are going to make the case that an elephant named Horton from a book by a writer known for nonsense is a pro-life hero, perhaps it’s better to do in verse.

Read it on page B3 and see if you agree. God bless!