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To My Son Yacine

By Abdellatif Laâbi Poetry

My beloved son, I received your letter where you spoke to me like an adult told me all about how hard you studied at school and where I saw that your passion for learning chased all the darkness and ugliness away as you delved into the secrets of the big book of life You’re confident…

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Two-Way Traffic

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IN A RECENT essay, poet Ira Sadoff issued a sweeping denunciation of what he calls the “spiritualization of American poetry.” Entitled “Trafficking in the Radiant” and published in the July/August American Poetry Review, the essay asserts that contemporary poets have been influenced by the resurgence of religiosity in our culture, with disastrous results. “My contention…

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Feature: Fully Human

By Multiple Authors Essay

Art and the Religious Sense To say that someone is “only human” is to say two things at once. We mean that person is flawed—and that this condition is no more than we should expect. Yet for all our awareness of human frailty and venality, we are haunted by visions of human flourishing, fullness rather…

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Thirty Seconds Away

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

The following is an expanded version of the introductory remarks delivered at Image’s Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on July 27, 2009. The theme for both the workshop and Image’s twentieth anniversary year, now concluding, was “Fully Human: Art and the Religious Sense.” BY ALL ACCOUNTS, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, a bishop of…

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Into Deep Waters

By Laura Bramon Good Essay

ONE SUMMER at the lake house, I forgot my swimming suit and found one of my grandmother’s—an old, plastic mold of a suit, perhaps unworn for twenty years—hanging like a replica of her younger body in the upstairs cedar closet. The suit smelled green and sweet, like the lake. When I pulled it onto my…

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Paradox of Flesh: The Art of Chris Ofili

By Charles Pickstone Essay

THE WORK OF British-born artist Chris Ofili, Turner Prize–winner in 1996 and 2003 British representative at the Venice Biennale, poses a particular challenge. Almost every review of his major 2010 retrospective at London’s Tate Britain alluded to the “spirituality” of the work of this former altar boy; the artist himself often gives religious titles to…

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Marc Quinn: The Matter of Life and Death

By James Romaine Essay

IN  2009, BRITAIN’S NATIONAL Portrait Gallery acquired Self by Marc Quinn. The museum’s press release described the work as “unconventional, innovative, and challenging.” That is an understatement. Self is made of eight pints of Quinn’s own blood, approximately the amount in an adult male body. It was extracted over a period of a year, then…

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Confirmation Man

By Ricardo Pau-Llosa Poetry

And who looks like his passport photo, may I ask? The man often lost his cool at immigration counters and customs and wherever documents met metaphors of the frailty of life. Look carefully, officer, behold what a little less beard has done for youthfulness overflowing from a face no torment could mar? Yes, I see,…

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The Cave and the Cathedral

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IN  1994, THREE SPELUNKERS were looking for undiscovered caves in the Ardèche region of southeastern France. The region is named after the Ardèche River, which has cut through limestone for millennia and created hundreds of caves. On a summer weekend expedition they came across a place in a cliff wall where they sensed a draft…

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A Conversation with Marilynne Robinson

By Jennifer L. Holberg Interview

Marilynne Robinson—unapologetic Calvinist, committed humanist, brilliant writer—is undoubtedly one of the most important contemporary American authors. Born and raised in northern Idaho, she was educated at Pembroke College (now part of Brown University), where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and at the University of Washington, where she received her MA and PhD in literature. She…

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