This week I’m teaching poems by Thomas Gray, William Cowper, and Oliver Goldsmith in my honors class. The goal is to gesture toward Romanticism. I love all three writers and their works, so it’s a good note to end our class on. (Here’s a cool site on Gray.)

But one side effect of teaching Gray’s “Sonnet on the Death of Mr. Richard West” and “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” is that it puts you in the mood for music that expresses the loss of loved ones.

As I’ve been reading and teaching Gray this week, the artist who keeps coming to mind is Patty Griffin, not that all her music is sad or anything like that, but quite a bit of it is mournful or about loss. I recently downloaded her album Impossible Dream from Napster. I really like “Love Throw a Line,” “Rowing Song,” and “Useless Desires.”

While Impossible Dream is good, I think 1000 Kisses is a more satisfying album. “Making Pies” alone is a masterpiece. “Be Careful” and “Mil Besos” are also among my favorites. The song that’s been coming to my mind this week is “Rain.” Here’s the video:

I love this video. I don’t usually like animated videos, but I think the animation works really well in this one: it captures the tone of the song without becoming too maudlin.

(more…)