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Who’s the Greatest One of All?

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I am skeptical of any attempt to gauge the greatness of a literary artist when the criteria being considered are not directly related to literature. The recent passing of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has provided some fodder for skepticism. Because of “the effect that he has had on history,” David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, believes…

On a Photograph of a Toddler in Zimbabwe

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I haven’t read Susan Sontag’s “On Photography” or “Regarding the Suffering of Others,” both extended meditations on the public consumption of images of suffering, but I do have the feeling that a recent experience of mine (and many others as well, no doubt) with a horrifying photograph in the mainstream media would make a fitting…

A Parable of Talents

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How many artists are successful in two different mediums? I don’t mean proficient; I mean as good in one as in the other? There’re lots of musicians who write middling to horrible poetry, and God save us from all the lame “novelist rock bands,” especially those comprised of ever-infantilized baby boomers. Okay, Shakespeare—plays and sonnets—but…

Other Dreams

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I remember Adam’s dream as if it had been my own dream, and I recall the spring in which he dreamed it as if I lived that time in his body: fearing the flat horizons that hemmed in Kansas City’s bleak skyline, but fearing the empty city, too; driving the snaking black-tops between his grandparents’…

“No Man the Island that a Woman Is”

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I was just finishing graduate school when the feminist movement began—around 1970. It spoke so powerfully to my personal experience that I wrote part of my dissertation on how the movement was transforming women’s language: allowing them to discover their own voice for the first time in Western history. As a brand new Asst. Professor…

Cloud of Witnesses

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“The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb.” –Joseph Ratzinger Those who know me only from the Glen Workshop may not believe I’m an introvert, but it’s true. For all my chattiness and conspicuous upstaging,…

Undoing our Undoing: Reva Williams & Gretel

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For two years, I lived in an artists’ colony in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, just on the outskirts of Boston. We set up house in a drafty three-story Victorian—me along with six musicians, one painter, one sculptor, and one band manager (in addition to a steady stream of guests, most of them of the musical variety).…

Do This in Memory: 2008 SPU MFA Commencement Address

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The following post is an adapted version of the commencement address for the 2008 graduating class of the Seattle Pacific University MFA in Creative Writing Program. I’d like to say a few words today about memory, inspired by St. Augustine, whose Confessions we have been reading together. The Confessions are the first great work of…

Imagining Christ at the Getty Center

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Oh how much I’d been looking forward to this, after five weeks in Los Angeles with nary a chance to make it to my favorite place in town. You can have the Arclight, Gladstone’s, Venice Beach, and the Promenade; go ahead, take LACMA and Griffith Observatory while you’re at it. Just give me The Getty…

Imagining Christ at the Getty Center

| | 0 Comments

Oh how much I’d been looking forward to this, after five weeks in Los Angeles with nary a chance to make it to my favorite place in town. You can have the Arclight, Gladstone’s, Venice Beach, and the Promenade; go ahead, take LACMA and Griffith Observatory while you’re at it. Just give me The Getty…

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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 week gifted writers offer personal essays that make fresh connections between the world of faith and the world of art. We also publish interviews with artists who inspire and challenge us.

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