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The Clearing

By Lêdo Ivo Poetry

What does God want with so many stars and black holes in infinite space? What is God’s plan on rainy nights when the wind blows and topples the flowers? In this dark empire the gift of uncertainty follows me through the forest. Maybe I dreamed the clearing I saw in the trees.   Translated from…

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Folding a Five-Cornered Star So the Corners Meet

By Li-Young Lee Poetry

This sadness I feel tonight is not my sadness. Maybe it’s my father’s. For having never been prized by his father. For having never profited by his son. This loneliness is Nobody’s. Nobody’s lonely because Nobody was never born and will never die. This gloom is Someone Else’s. Someone Else is gloomy because he’s always…

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A Conversation with Li-Young Lee

By Paul T. Corrigan Interview

Li-Young Lee’s books of poetry include Rose (1986), winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award; The City in Which I Love You (1990), which was a Lamont Poetry Selection; Book of My Nights (2001), which won the William Carlos Williams Award; From Blossoms: Selected Poems (2007), and Behind My Eyes (2008). His other work…

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Still Points: The Quiet Spaces of Wolfgang Laib

By Brenton Good Essay

Let us start from one admitted fact: if prayer, meditation, and contemplation were once taken for granted as central realities in human life everywhere, they are so no longer. They are regarded, even by believers, as somehow marginal and secondary: what counts is getting things done. ————-—Thomas Merton, from Contemplation in a World of Action…

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Carol of the Infuriated Hour

By David Brendan Hopes Poetry

The stab to the heart that is such music, the light beyond brightness that is such sight— For the sake of this season in the stories I will cease my wars with God tonight. I will choose, with open eye, the talking beasts, the white-in-the-snowdrift Christmas rose, the legends of wandering a bitter way, high…

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The Contemplative Life

By Marilyn Nelson Poetry

Abba Jacob said: Contemplation is both the highest act of being human, and humanity’s highest language. If the language of things reaches beyond things to designate the Absolute, the silent interior mantra bespeaks a profound communion with that Someone further than ourselves— and communion within ourselves, for the two go together. When we meditate, we…

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Irenology

By Karen An-Hwei Lee Poetry

For the word is living and active …………—Hebrews 4:12 Irene, a girl’s name. Irenology. Studies in peace. How does peace circulate? Open in Ezra and paging to Nehemiah, ——–I contemplate exiles rebuilding temple walls. I thought, is this a form of peace studies? Confess our sins. Our inability to perform ——-a divinely ordained task by…

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Slow Culture

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IT HAPPENED FOR ME in seventh-grade English class. My teacher, Mr. Taussig, was an older gentleman. He had driven a tank in the Battle of the Bulge, which feat of courage helped to offset the fact that he looked like Mr. Magoo. For many months he dragged us line by line through Shakespeare’s Romeo and…

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How Do You Market Prayers?

By Rodger Kamenetz Poetry

Does your prayer cross the street? Or is it like the skin of the serpent Scratched against a stick or sharp stone? Does your prayer shred? Has your prayer Ever heard a man cry, or touched a woman’s fur? No prayer for the smashed teeth of Ai Wei Wei held against his will? I saw…

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Hanging Gardens: The Drawings of Gala Bent

By Hannah Faith Notess Essay

GALA BENT WAS ONCE a landscape painter who lived in Indiana, born and raised in the Midwest. Her paintings, acrylic on paper, featured dark, heavy, and flat horizontal spaces. But she used to dream about mountains. That is, until she found herself surrounded by them. When she and her husband, fellow artist Zack Bent, moved…

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