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Hunger Moon

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I live in Minnesota, where the new growing season starts in May. At our house, March and April are our designated months for emptying the freezer, when we try to eat all the produce we froze the summer before. Sautéed spinach, tomato sauce, diced rhubarb, ratatouille, chopped raw onions and bell peppers divvied into one-cup…

The Pleasures of (Re)Reading

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If you’re going to make a habit of re-reading novels (as I do), then it helps to have a pretty poor memory (as I do). My re-reading seems to fall into two categories. First there are the novels I’ll re-read every ten years or so. These are the super-long ones that draw me inexorably into…

The Place of the Imagination in Spiritual Experience

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Does the imagination play a role in spiritual experience, I asked. How about in religious experience? On a Thursday morning late in the semester, a dozen undergraduates–honors students–and I gathered in a circle in the Laurel Forum, a room with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves along one wall, another wall all windows opening onto the campus quad. A…

Big Art: A Case for Maximalism

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Neither of us are great sightseers, but Bernie, my partner of twenty years, and I couldn’t come to Barcelona without visiting the Sagrada Familia, the modernist cathedral designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi at the turn of the twentieth century. We’d planned the trip to see a soccer game of Barcelona Football Club, a fascination…

The Holy Fool

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I met my husband for the first time on April Fool’s Day twelve years ago. Living several states apart, we were introduced by mutual friends and spent three months corresponding by email and phone. When it was finally feasible for us to meet face-to-face, I planned and worried for weeks, feeling tense with emotional preparation.…

May All Who Enter Here Be Comforted

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Wearing a hospital gown and blue-paper shorts I ease down, first onto my side, then gingerly onto my back that still protests after a month in response to once innocent movements. The technician slides a bolster under my knees, and warm blanket over them, hands me earplugs and an emergency call button, pushes a button,…

Revelations: An Interview with Poet Ruben Quesada

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…Christ was never more than a man nailed to across but from him I learned that an entire lifefits into a person’s palm like a book of poemslike an executioner’s hammer now at thirty fiveI have learned confession won’t save me… Ruben Quesada is the author of Next Extinct Mammal and Exiled from the Throne…

Fragments from Jaipur

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A little old man came out of a fabric store and lit a stick of incense. He had a pronounced lower lip, which dangled more than a foot from the bottom of his face. He shook and brandished his wondrous lip and the young men around him trembled and approached. He held his left hand…

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…

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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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