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Web Exclusive: A Conversation with Lisa Ampleman

By Mary Kenagy Mitchell Interview

In issue 87, poet Lisa Ampleman reviews three new books by Jericho Brown, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, and Rickey Laurentiis—three African American poets who each write about faith, identity, and injustice in different ways. We asked her to reflect a little on the connection between poetry, empathy, and justice. She was interviewed by Mary Kenagy Mitchell.…

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Racism Lives Here. Does God?

By Lisa Ampleman Book Review

The New Testament by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon, 2014) Lighting the Shadow by Rachel Eliza Griffiths (Four Way, 2015) Boy with Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis (University of Pittsburgh, 2015) THE YOUTUBE VIDEO starts abruptly. Two Saint Louis symphony-goers stand at their seats, singing “Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all” to the tune of…

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Unless a Kernel of Wheat Falls

By Ryan Masters Essay

I. EVERY FACE IN THE NEONATAL intensive care unit looked apologetic and scared, like old, lonely men do on their deathbeds. A nurse told my wife Georgie how lonely she had been ever since her husband died. An intern cried alone in the far corner of the room and sent her condolences later via email. One…

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The Ring

By Lee Haupt Essay

Someone tells someone she knows someone who writes fiction and memoir. The second someone, or party of the second part, asks the party of the third part if she would read a short essay by his wife, who died last year of ovarian cancer. How could the party of the third part refuse? No longer…

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Pigeons and Turtledoves

By Mike Smith Essay

THOUGHTS OF ETERNITY have always terrified me. Sometimes at night I would try to trick myself into imagining it, the experience of never-endingness, and think myself into a cold sweat, starting from the horror to which I had brought my mind. Most often, my late wife Emily was able to sleepily talk me back down, but…

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A Conversation with Phil Klay

By Nick Ripatrazone Interview

Phil Klay was born in Westchester, New York, in 1983. He studied creative writing and literature at Dartmouth College and graduated in 2005. That spring he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and in 2007 was deployed to Iraq during the troop surge. He served as a public affairs…

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In Search of the Beautiful: The Art of Susie Hamilton

By Richard Davey Essay

WHEN CHARLES BAUDELAIRE’S ESSAY “The Painter of Modern Life” was printed by Le Figaro in late 1863, Paris was a city in the midst of artistic revolution. For centuries, the French Academy had emphasized historical subjects and classical ideals, teaching students to take their models of beauty from the great masters of the past. But now,…

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Jack Baumgartner and the School of the Transfer of Energy

By Elizabeth Duffy Essay

IN LATE FEBRUARY OF 2015, my husband and I left behind the snow and ice of central Indiana to drive ten hours south to the shrubby tree-lined plains just outside Wichita, Kansas—to see a puppet show. Another couple we’d met only the night before accompanied us, a sword maker who operates Cedarlore Forge in New…

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If I Decide to Pray Again It Won’t Be Words Strung in a Line

By Kathleen A. Wakefield Poetry

I’m going to pray with my whole body.                I don’t mean snake-handling sanctifications in a wood’s hollow nor torso-rolling,      arm-waving hollering on a carpeted aisle.                        No, God of dark matter and everything in between, I’m going to concentrate                       every particle of my being, each neuron-strumming molecule, each cell            pitching and sliding beneath…

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The Man in the Next Pew

By Kathleen A. Wakefield Poetry

lets go of his cane and holds with both hands the pew ahead of him. Now and then he dips down, shaking, pulls himself back up. Stands still as he can while the gospel’s read. Today the Parable of the Sower. Pastor says he thinks it’s less about what kind of soil we are— rocky,…

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