"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

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After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Personal Essays Engage Power Of Poetry

Jun 28, 2012

Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us that poets are the beholders of ideas and the announcers of human experience's necessary and casual details. Poets sing the songs of their selves and of nations. Even Emily Dickinson tells us she sings "to use the Waiting."

In her essay, "My Emily Dickinson," the American poet and critic Maureen McLane explains that Dickinson's singing expresses our "vast poetic tradition" and our "profound consciousness of historical trauma." In listening to and thinking "through" Dickinson's poetry, McLane writes, we will better grasp our contemporary American lives. Throughout My Poets, her collection of beautiful, experimental essays, McLane's thinking through and appraising other poets is the central, commanding event.

In the book's "proem," McLane asks herself several times, "Why do you write poetry?" Borrowing lines from Wallace Stevens' "The Man With the Blue Guitar," she responds: "I am a native in this world / And think in it as a native thinks." Here and throughout, McLane's native attitude is soulful, metaphysical and witty. (Note: A proem is an archaic term for a book's preface. McLane's word choice, p-r-o-e-m, hints playfully at her style of mashing her lines of critical prose together with a poem's precisely pressurized lineation.)

A professor of British Romanticism at NYU, McLane can't help reminding (teaching) us of beautiful, borrowed, buried English words like epigones, genitives, taxon, viz (videlicet), dulcarnoun and kankedort. These last two rare, obsolete, old Englysshe gems are introduced in "My Chaucer/Kankedort." Dulcarnoun: "a term that seems to arise from a crux in geometry." Kankedort: "a state of suspense; a critical position; an awkward affair." Both serve McLane well, signaling the spaces she's occupied since the beginning of her poetic education.

In "My Impasse," about McLane's freshman year at Harvard, she finds herself in a kankedort. Enrolled in both Helen Vendler's famous "Poems, Poets, Poetry" course and William Corbett's expository writing class, McLane sat at the dulcarnoun of scholarly exegesis and creative reading. At the intersection of canonical and contemporary poetry, she stood in a "vale of unknowing."

"As a poet, as a student, as a critic, as a teacher, as a citizen," she writes, "I have found this vale of unknowing yet wanting-to-know to be a fruitful vale, a dwelling place worth sharing, pondering ... [it] feels rather like an environment — a kind of tensed haze."

Together in the haze, McLane and her poets possess each other. In "My Elizabeth Bishop/(My Gertrude Stein)," McLane mimics Stein's style as she documents her failed senior thesis on the writer: "I could find nothing in Stein and my mind would not be mine. It was not mine but neither was it Stein's." Turning to Bishop on an adviser's urging, McLane merges into Bishop's sound, indicating the shift. McLane's pastiche of these very different poets demonstrates their shared traits: "Bishop meets Stein and Stein meets Bishop and they are quite congenial and have tea in the mind."

Her best essays are on Marianne Moore, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) and Louise Gluck. They help her examine love, marriage and its dissolution, death, sadness and self-doubt, myth, psychoanalysis and love, again. Lying next to her husband, their marriage disintegrating, H.D. offers language: "I know not what to do: / strain upon strain, sound upon sound / makes my brain blind." In the midst of separation, Gluck's "Wild Iris was a companion more intimate than any living friend, a murmur and rasp and balm in the mind those months the structures of living you yourself had erected were now collapsing, the foundations battered by you yourself." Weaving her personal narrative with a close study of Moore, McLane's revelations are fascinating and heart-stuttering:

"I had fallen in love with another but not it would seem out of love with him. This was unwieldy ... a contradiction, a flaw in the world, unencompassable, 'the central flaw / in that first crystal-fine experiment,' and everything shattered."

Here, Moore's music measures McLane's dark complexities. And yet, thinking through these lines for meaning, syncopating confession with critique, McLane demonstrates across this gorgeous, humming collection, that we turn to poetry, as Dickinson sings, "To Keep the Dark away."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.