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issue 117 cover

Issue 117 | Summer 2023

Issue 117’s cover features work by British artist Jake Lever, who installs his gilded “soul boats” in ancient churches. Also inside: Jamie Smith talks with Harper’s editor Christopher Beha about the novel as an act of resistance to reductionist materialism. A profile of environmentalist composer Robert Kyr, who draws inspiration from his annual retreats at a Benedictine monastery in New Mexico. An excerpt from Christian Wiman’s forthcoming book of essays, in which he considers belief in light of quantum physics. Jennifer Anne Moses on her childhood as an observer of ur-Wasps—and what happens when old money dwindles. Joanne Allen on why contemporary artists can’t quit borrowing from the Renaissance. A personal/critical essay by Casie Dodd on grieving through film and television. Katie Moulton’s portrait in fragments on her resilient midwestern grandmother. Mixed-media artist Stephanie Rayner’s Boat of Eternal Return, composed of cello parts, animal bones, and DNA sequencing gels, which some viewers have said let them “move to the spirit word without the normal requirement of death.” Plus poems by David Baker, Kathleen Kirk, and more.

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On the cover: Jake Lever. Do the Little Things, 2020–21. Wire, tissue paper, and gold leaf with cardboard box. Edition of 350.


In the Studio

Stephanie Rayner


Soul on Deck

Jake Lever

Table of Contents



Kathleen Hill, From The Celestial Sea

David McGlynn, Rule Out

Jessica Keener, Safety



James K.A. Smith, Incident and Significance: A Conversation with Christopher Beha


Christian Wiman, My Christ

Katie Moulton, Clippings

Jennifer Anne Moses, Talk to Me

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