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Poetry Friday: “The Fire Tower”

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image of a woman and her shadow climbing upward a stone spiral staircase in a tower.

This summer is marked by smoke, our town covered in an urgent haze from nearby wildfires. I sympathize with the neighboring communities that are directly impacted. Homes burned, life plans changed, suddenly, and without much warning. In Carrie Jerrell’s narrative poem “The Fire Tower” we first meet a willful girl determined to make the steep,…

Life, Death, Bread, Host

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Guest Post by Laura Bramon This post originally appeared at “Good Letters” on August 18, 2008. The birds’ wings shake out the smell of the men who sleep in the park: the smell of meat, sweat, and bread. The birds lift up and fly away as I ride my bike through the park’s courtyard, and…

Entering the Age of Subtraction

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I am entering the Age of Subtraction. Almost as if there existed an imperceptible fulcrum I had to get over, and I’m now finding myself sliding on the downside. So much of adult life until now was about Addition—collecting experiences and perspectives—countries been to and books read, bands seen—and then a husband and family and…

Miscarriage

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One of the first official symptoms of pregnancy is an out of character desire to work story problems. If Eve is forty-one when she discovers she is pregnant, how old will she be at the infant’s birth, and when baby starts kindergarten, and when baby leaves for college? If Eve is sixty when youngest child…

An American Body Politic

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In recent months several of us have quipped that the drama surrounding the Trump campaign and presidency would make for a great plotline on the FX drama, The Americans. A show about Russian spies living in D.C. during the Cold War easily brings to mind our present-day episode of America-Russia relations. If you watched the…

Poetry Friday: “Psalm as Frustration I Can Live With”

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heavy overhanging curtains over a window illuminated by the sun shining through them.

Like the biblical psalms, Nicholas Samaras’s “Psalm as Frustration I Can Live With” speaks for the human condition. And, like many of the biblical psalms, Samaras’s psalm finds the human condition one of being thrust between opposite experiences. “I feel [God’s]presence only to lose it, / lose his presence only to feel it return.” And…

Guns N’ Roses in This Lifetime

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The first time I encountered Guns N’ Roses, it was a flag hanging on the bedroom wall of a kid I barely knew. You’ve likely seen the image—a cross, adorned with representative skulls for each member of the band. I hadn’t heard Appetite for Destruction at that point, but I knew this was something to…

Possessed

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It refused to rain during the hot, middling July weeks the summer I turned fifteen. The clouds hung low over the Plains. My mother and I fought nearly every day during that dry month, even if our fighting was mostly silent, threats drawn from taut eyes and skin. I pushed always, every day, against an…

The Iron Cross, Part 2

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This post originally appeared on “Good Letters” on October 14, 2014. Continued from yesterday. The Way of Saint James—El Camino de Santiago—is a pilgrimage that began in the Middle Ages and remains popular today. Each year pilgrims from all around the world walk from points throughout Europe to reach the tomb of Saint James in…

The Iron Cross, Part 1

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This post originally appeared on “Good Letters” on October 13, 2014. I didn’t know Julia well. The first time I saw her, she was sitting at the far end of the table around which our language class met. Although I knew the instructor, Chiara, it was my first day with this group of students who…

Image’s Daily Blog

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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