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Poetry Friday: “Rain”

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The emotional landscape of motherhood can often be hard to describe and is underrepresented in genres such as poetry. As a poet and mother of a two-year old with a new baby on the way, I appreciated “Rain” by Tara Bray and found it very instructive on several levels. In this candid poem, a “family…

The “Oh, There You Are” Prayer

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image of a large spider dangling from its web.

Three egg sacs hang in suspension in the garden near my doorstep. When I look for information online, most resulting websites discuss removal, infestation, means of discarding. The spider has lived between the wall and garden for a little over a month, a strange home in the alley’s wind tunnel. Gusts waver the plants during…

Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer

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Portrait of Robert Oppenheimer reclining a chair with his legs crossed, holding a cigarette in a very cavalier manner.

What would you think of a biography of a famous person written in the form of a poem? I don’t mean just a portrait of the person: Stephanie Strickland did this (masterfully) in her The Red Virgin: A Poem of Simone Weil. No, I mean a full, chronological biography—birth to death and reputation beyond—complete with…

Disturbing the Silence: Part 2

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photo of a blurred human behind a door

Continued from yesterday. It’s not until my husband and I return from our getaway weekend and arrive home from the cabin to the Internet, to the noise of children, to the chaos of community life creeping in, that I find the space to read Wendell Berry’s poetry. This poem, in particular, resonates with me: How to…

Disturbing the Silence: Part 1

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vintage image of a man unpacking the trunk of a car while a woman stands under the awning of a cabin while holding a baby.

The cabin where my husband and I are having a weekend getaway is on the border of Wisconsin, on the lip of a rustic lake where two canoes stick out of the water like discolored buckteeth. They are tipped upside down at the crook of a thin tilted dock. When my husband turns one of…

Poetry Friday: “The Aging Maria”

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a plaster house with a yellow painted wooden door sits behind a tree with draping green foliage. the image is light and warm.

The prose poem is a challenging genre. After all, what distinguishes “plain prose” from “prose poetry”? Here, in Judith Ortiz Cofer’s “The Aging Maria,” I’d say it’s, first, the liberty with sentence structure. Take the opening sentence: in a prose work we’d say it’s too long, stretches in too many directions. But here, each phrase…

Singing the Qur’an in Different Voices

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heavily ornate lattice covering.

I sat through the meeting distracted, nervous. I should have been at ease. After all, I was with friends—members of a Christian-Muslim interfaith group, people I’d worked with for many years, people I trusted. But I was coming down with an acute case of performance anxiety. I had asked Ismet Akcin, the Islamic Center of…

Pascha, the Resurrection, and Ricky Gervais

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image of the beautiful painted ceiling and walls in a shadowy orthodox church.

Rays of midmorning sun shone through the window and fell in molten pools across the white sheets of our bed. Lying back on my two feather pillows, I could hear and smell the burgeoning sounds of spring through my open windows—birds chirping, the scent of sweet olive, the soft susurration of car wheels on the…

Endurance Test

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a pair of nice shoes in the center of the floor.

My father held the wall to work his way from the bed to the couch, avoiding the ship’s bell protruding from the wall. He was sick—the kind of sick that meant out of work too. It was his adrenal system, or his pineal gland, or a hormonal imbalance, depending on the doctor. And it was…

Passover and Government Presence

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The Seder table set on a tablecloth on the floor, flowers in the center in a tall vase, and a stretch of sun across the middle of the table

“In what ways do you experience the presence of government—city, county, state, federal—in your life, your daily life, your professional life?” That’s how we began, with that question. Asking questions, that’s the practice, isn’t it, that leads to liberation? And that’s why we were there that night, wasn’t it, to recount an experience of liberation…

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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