Image journal—lauded by best-selling novelist
Bret Lott as “the most meaningful literary journal being published
today"—has produced its first book-length anthology, Bearing
the Mystery: Twenty Years of IMAGE, to celebrate twenty years of bringing readers the best contemporary art and writing informed
by—or grappling with—religious faith.
Just released from Eerdmans, Bearing the Mystery compiles 16 fullcolor plates of visual art and nearly 500 pages of fiction, poetry, and essays by 90 of the most accomplished writers and artists who have appeared in Image over the last two decades.
The anthology features some of the most dynamic and innovative
artists at work today, including writers like Annie Dillard, Ann
Patchett, Richard Rodriguez, Denise Levertov, Kathleen Norris, Franz Wright, and Ron Hansen; legendary film director Wim Wenders; composer James Macmillan; and such visual artists as Makoto Fujimura, Ed Knippers, Zhi Lin, Barry Moser, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., and many others.
Says founder and editor Gregory Wolfe, Image is “not interested in art that merely regurgitates dogma or falls back on easy answers or didacticism. Rather, Image publishes work that embodies a spiritual struggle that seeks to strike a balance between tradition and a profound openness to the world.”
“We founded the journal to focus on the creative act itself, to push back against the near-total domination of the cultural airwaves by polarizing, abstract discourse, and we have been amazed over the years at the response of people hungry for beauty and meaning.”
Since its founding in 1989, Image has become one of the top ten literary quarterlies in the world by paid circulation, with an international readership of nearly 5,000. Image also sponsors a national summer artists’ workshop (recently featured on PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly), an annual study tour to Florence, Italy, a daily blog, an e-newsletter with over 6,000 subscribers, and the Milton Center Fellowship, which has helped more than twenty writers complete their first books.
Image has earned praise from within the religious community and beyond. The late Richard John Neuhaus called it “a daring project, filled with the highest promise.” Martin E. Marty says that Image is “a timely, perhaps an urgent example of a fresh way to bring the arts and religion together.”
One reader says: “Your publication saved my faith in the possibility of the recovery of the religious imagination and truth in art. And, while I’m at it, quite likely saved my faith, full stop.”
An attendee at Image’s week-long summer arts program, the Glen Workshop, called the experience a “balm to my soul. This week has made me feel more fully human; softer, fuller, stronger.” Says another: “I came for the first time to the Glen and realize if this is breathing, I’ve been suffocating for years.”
Material from Image appears regularly in the annual “Best of” anthologies, including the Pushcart Prize, Best American Essays, O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Poetry, New Stories from the South, and Best Creative Nonfiction, and has been excerpted in Harpers, Utne Reader, Wilson Quarterly, the website Poetry Daily, and Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac.
Additional past contributors include Richard Wilbur, John Updike, Lauren Winner, Mary Karr, William Kennedy, Marilyn Nelson, Madeleine L’Engle, Philip Levine, Pattiann Rogers, Oscar Hijuelos, Robert Coles, Katherine Paterson, David James Duncan, John Irving, Mary Oliver, Terry Tempest Williams, and Elie Wiesel.
What They Are Saying About Image
“Image is a realistic, valuable, and extraordinarily interesting magazine. Its writing and artwork are simple, direct, and without pretension—like the best of all American writing. It deserves generous support—and applause.”
Author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
“Image is the most meaningful literary journal being published today. Each issue brings us back into an understanding that art pierces the surface of our lives to illuminate the soul; that art is, indeed, a redemptive gift from God.”
Novelist, author of Jewel
“Image journal is one of the brightest beacons of hope among those who care about the intersection of faith and art. Bearing the Mystery offers us the cream of years of wisdom and witness.”
Thomas A. Langford Professor of Theology at Duke University
“For the past twenty years Image has provided a unique and irreplaceable service to American letters. It has been the pre-eminent meeting place for writing on faith and the imagination in a period when most mainstream journals assumed that religion and the arts were no longer on speaking terms. Inclusive but discerning, spiritually alert but never doctrinaire, Image has helped keep American literature connected to one of its deepest sources of inspiration.”
Former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
“Image has done what no other journal has done over the last twenty years—that is, make available art and reflection on what artists do with serious theological purpose.”
Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School
“Over the past dozen years, Image has shaped and reshaped my theology and my aesthetic sensibility. It is one of the most important staples of my reading life.”
Author of Girl Meets God, assistant professor Duke Divinity School
“I’ve discovered dozens of great new artists and writers thanks to Image, and I’m grateful for all I’ve encountered in its pages over twenty years.”
Filmmaker, Director of Wings of Desire