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The Revolt Against Narcissus

By Robert Cording Essay

IN A SCENE from book 4 of Milton’s Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve talk one evening of the glories of Eden and their unmerited free creation by God, unaware that they are being watched by Satan. This little scene takes place shortly after Satan’s shape-shifting arrival in Eden and serves as a kind of foreshadowing…

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Reading George Herbert

By Robert Cording Poetry

All he ever wanted was to disappear. But he kept coming upon himself as if he were a character in a story who, despite his best efforts to understand, remained inscrutable. How he tried to keep straight the difference between who the author said he was and who he thought he was. He told himself…

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Becoming the Other

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IN THE FIRST DAYS of May, 1610, the renowned Confucian scholar Li Madou lay dying in his home in Beijing. Hundreds of the leading citizens of the Chinese capital came to pay their respects to the man whose books on ethics, mathematics, friendship, and the mysteries of life and death had been read and circulated…

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In Nomine

By A.G. Harmon Essay

ACROSS THE HIGHWAY are a Taco Bell, a Comfort Inn, and a free-standing building that houses a Chinese buffet. A Case tractor company is nearby, and what looks to be an old service station, deserted, with orange-and-tan panels on the garage door and wild grass sprouting through the asphalt. Somewhat disconcerting is an abandoned Wal-Mart, a…

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Stalking the Spirit

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

The following is adapted from the commencement address for the Seattle Pacific University Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing delivered on August 7, 2010. THIS PROGRAM IS blessed to have its intensive, ten-day residencies at two of the most beautiful places on the continent: the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and…

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Late Bloomer

By Daniel Tobin Poetry

Something whispered I wanted more of myself. That’s how I turned into the fleur of myself. The lake. The ripple’s shimmer. That lilting face. I’ll guzzle the infinite pour of myself. What is this flow I feel, its course through soft bone? The current? The mother lode? The ore of myself? Fill me with all…

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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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Rare Sighting

By Michael Symmons Roberts Poetry

Because the crab apple tree is not incarnate, but a shape cut from sky, you simply pull its trunk a little wider and step through. Once on the other side, you turn, take stock, lean on a bough, and look back at it all. So strange to catch your own life unawares, to see your…

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In Cutaway

By Michael Symmons Roberts Poetry

Stands me, though it could be any of us, sliced open, scalp to instep, en pointe in formaldehyde inside a glass case like some macabre Houdini stunt. This may be a fin-de-siècle end-of-pier show, a sicko’s private gallery, a future museum of mortality—I’d be the last to know: dutiful sentry in cross-section, everlasting witness to…

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Far as the Curse is Found: The Art of Scott Kolbo

By Cameron J. Anderson Essay

The prophet is a realist of distances, and it is this kind of realism that you find in the best modern instances of the grotesque.                             —Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners SOME MONTHS AGO, while traveling, I walked full-force into the sloping ceiling of the unfamiliar guest room where I was staying. The blow to…

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