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Poetry Friday: “In Song the Words are Fruit, in Prayer Blight”

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Spring feels obscene in the face of grief, either anticipated or past, and the speaker’s observations  in this poem give readers permission to voice that dissonance, to watch bloom, and to feel the weight of a stake driven into the earth while they remain slow in the bustling season, wondering quietly where the “rungs the light has laid down” lead and if they should follow.

Witness and Permission: On Seeing and Being Seen in Life and Art

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This winter has been a difficult season.  I emerge from it wondering about the edges of my griefs and my joys, feeling around for my moorings, realizing in a new way the isolation of the single parent, the reality of mortality for aging and ill family members, the uneven texture of heartbreak, how it feels…

The Best of Rivals

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cover of Image issue 100

The following is Jamie Smith’s editorial from Image’s hundredth issue, which mails to subscribers this week. A special extra-thick issue on friendship, rivalry, and collaboration, it features Shane McCrae, A.E. Stallings, Bruce Cockburn, Molly McCully Brown, Padraig O Tuama, Christopher Beha, and many others. If you don’t subscribe, you can still get it as your first…

What Light Do We Miss? An Interview with Melissa Kuipers

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Melissa Kuiper’s short story collection, The Whole Beautiful World, was published in 2017 with Brindle & Glass and reviewed in Image 99 by Samuel Martin. Melissa’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The Puritan, Ryga, Joyland, The Rusty Toque and Qwerty. She has an MA in Creative Writing from University of Toronto. In addition to…

Remembering W.S. Merwin: Poet of Disappearance

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On March 15, acclaimed American poet W.S. Merwin died at age 91. Merwin wrote in other genres as well: four prose books, three plays, and twenty volumes of translations of poetry. But it’s for his own poetry that he has long been celebrated. In the 1960s, his poems against the Vietnam War brought him wide…

Jonathan Anderson and the Life of Modern Art

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When I lived in St. Louis, one of the paintings I always looked forward to seeing most at the art museum in Forest Park was Franz Kline’s Bethlehem (1959-60). It looks like a smudged cross on a pale Ash Wednesday forehead. It looks like the steel girders of a suspension bridge. It looks like random…

Poetry Friday: March: Saint John the Divine

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“These Lenten weeks are wordless, gray and slow.” It takes poet Elizabeth Spires four verses to get to this line. Before this, the poem’s speaker imagines a more colorful and lively season, as the church garden’s peacock “spread its glorious tail.” The feathers remind the speaker “of doves descending, the promise of a season yet…

Always: On the Death (and Resurrection) of a Denomination

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empty pews

I used to steal away into the sanctuary of Community United Methodist Church when I was a kid—this is fifth, maybe sixth grade—and lay on my back in the cool wooden pews, staring up at the ceiling with nothing short of wonder. (Note: this wasn’t on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening or any other time…

Hovering

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The Thaw at Vetheuil by Claude Monet Loss has laid bare my day. I’m attempting to make room for grief, “enjoy” the free time. I read, try to write, take more walks. I choose a nearby lake to circle.  After a few death spasms– late snows and unseasonably cold days–winter’s finally loosened his grip. Life…

Frames of Mind: Nine Reflections on the Passing of Filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami

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1. We’ve been watching the bird feeder. As the day comes into focus with the bedroom window’s frame, the light catches steam rising from our morning mugs like smoke rising from sacrifices on altars. Anne and I attend, blank journals propped like tents in our laps. We are not alone. Our cats, Mardukas and Zooey,…

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For the humanists of the Renaissance, literature mattered because it was concrete and experiential—it grounded ideas in people’s lives. Their name for this kind of writing was bonae litterae, a phrase we’ve borrowed as the title for our blog. Every weekday, one of the gifted writers on our blogging team will offer a personal essay that makes a fresh connection between the world of faith and the world of daily life, spanning the gap between theology and experience and giving language a human shape.

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