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Issue 52

A conversation with Alice McDermott; a special excerpt from an obscure mid-century pamphlet by a British Dominican priest—words as fresh today as ever; Scott Cairns on the end of suffering; and the expressive landscapes of Louise McClary. With poems by Floyd Skloot, Lance Larsen, and Margaret Gibson; fiction by Paul Rawlins, Sheri Allen, and Penny Susan Rose; and more.

Table of Contents

Editorial Statement

Gerald Vann, OP, Modern Culture and Christian Renewal


Paul Rawlins, Omaha, Eastbound

Sheri Allen, The Back of God's Head

Penny Susan Rose, Rabbi Worth


Margaret Gibson, Poetry is the Spirit of the Dead, Watching

Todd Davis, Nothing More

Floyd Skloot, Balance
Playing the Bawd at Twenty

Roger Williams, The Visitation

Lance Larsen, Afternoon Swim
To the Lost One Third

Garret Keizer, The Errand
If I Knew What Pain

Visual Arts

Richard Davey, Louise McClary: Landscapes of Love


Paul J. Contino, A Conversation with Alice McDermott


Scott Cairns, The End of Suffering

Ann Copeland, Of Dissonance and Touch: A Movement in Sonata Form


Jill Patterson, When Marriage Is a Tomb Where Silence Dwells

Book Review

Beth Bevis, Bill Henderson's Simple Gifts


Sheri Allen has published poetry in the Sagarin Review, Boulevard, and Poetry Southeast. Her translation of a Renaissance rabbinic poem is forthcoming in Subtropics, and her feature articles have appeared in the Prague Post and the Jerusalem Post. She has an MFA from the University of Florida and is currently a PhD candidate in creative writing at Florida State University. This is her first published fiction.

Beth Bevis is the program coordinator for Seattle Pacific University’s MFA program in creative writing. She is the editor of Image’s e-newsletter, ImageUpdate, and is currently working on an essay about noise in church. She plans to attend graduate school in English. Her favorite hymn is “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

Scott Cairns’s most recent collection of poetry is Compass of Affection (Paraclete). Previous collections are Philokalia (Zoo), Recovered Body (Braziller), Figures for the Ghost, The Translation of Babel (both from Georgia), and The Theology of Doubt (Cleveland State). He is professor of English and director of the creative writing program at the University of Missouri. Besides the forthcoming Short Trip to the Edge, a spiritual memoir from HarperSanFrancisco, a new collection of verse translations and adaptations, Love’s Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life, will also appear from Paraclete Press in 2007.

Paul J. Contino is professor of Great Books at Pepperdine University, where he also serves as coeditor of Christianity & Literature and associate director of the Center for Faith and Learning. His essays have appeared in Religion and Literature, Studies in the Novel,Renascence, Religion and the Arts, The Cresset, and America. His Commonweal essay on Tobias Wolff won a 2006 Catholic Press Association Award.

Ann Copeland is the author of six collections of short fiction, including The Golden Thread(Viking), Strange Bodies on a Stranger Shore, and Seasons of Apples (both from Goose Lane). Her awards include two NEA Fellowships, an Ingram Merrill prize, and several Canada Council Awards. She was the first holder of the Hallie Ford Chair in the English department at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. “Of Dissonance and Touch” is part of a book-in-progress of essays, titled “Musicking Moments: A Memoir of Musical Time.”

Richard Davey is the Anglican chaplain at Nottingham Trent University, England, and a member of the visual arts research group there. His doctoral thesis examined sensibilities of faith in contemporary visual art, and he is now exploring themes around color and light. He has been the principal contemporary art critic for the Church Times for the last twelve years, has written a number of artists’ catalogues, and has curated numerous exhibitions in galleries and churches.

Todd Davis teaches at Penn State Altoona. His poems have appeared in North American Review, River Styx, Arts & Letters, Quarterly West, Green Mountains Review, Poetry East,The Christian Science Monitor, and many other journals, as well as in the anthologies A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry and Visiting Frost: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Robert Frost (both from Iowa). His first book of poems, Ripe (Bottom Dog), was published in 2002. His second, Some Heaven, will appear this January from Michigan State University Press.

Margaret Gibson is the author of eight books of poetry from Louisiana State University Press: Autumn Grasses; Icon and Evidence; Earth Elegy: New and Selected Poems; The Vigil, a finalist for the National Book Award; Out in the Open; Memories of the Future; The Daybooks of Tina Modotti, co-winner of the Melville Kane Award from the Poetry Society of America; Long Walks in the Afternoon, a Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets; and Signs. She lives in Preston, Connecticut.

Garret Keizer is the author of a novel, God of Beer (HarperCollins), and four books of nonfiction: Help (HarperCollins), The Enigma of Anger (J. Wiley), A Dresser of Sycamore Trees (David R. Godine), and No Place But Here (New England). He is a contributing editor for Harper’s magazine and is writing a book about noise with the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work appears in Christian Century, Mother Jones, The Village Voice, and Best American Poetry 2005.

Lance Larsen’s second poetry collection, In All Their Animal Brilliance (Tampa), won theTampa Review prize for poetry. His poems have appeared in the Paris Review, Times Literary Supplement, New York Review of Books, Grand Street, Pushcart 2005, and elsewhere. He teaches literature and creative writing at Brigham Young University.

Jill Patterson teaches in the creative writing program at Texas Tech University. Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, Fourth Genre, Quarterly West, and other journals. She editsIron Horse Literary Review, serves as production manager for Creative Nonfiction, and directs the San Juan Writers’ Workshops in Ouray, Colorado.

Paul Rawlins lives in Salt Lake City, where he works as a freelance editor and writer. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, Southeast Review, Sycamore Review, Tampa Review, and elsewhere. Winner of a PRISM International Short Fiction Award and the Utah Arts Council Award, Rawlins also won the Flannery O’Connor Award for his first story collection,No Lie Like Love (Georgia).

Penny Susan Rose reads and writes in relative isolation in Los Angeles. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Lumina, Westview, The Distillery, Calyx, Chrysalis Reader,Rosebud, Ninth Letter, Phoebe, and the North Atlantic Review, and she has been recognized in the Ursula K. Le Guin Fabulist Fiction Competition. She is at work on a novel.

Floyd Skloot’s most recent collections of poems are Approximately Paradise (Tupelo) andThe End of Dreams (Louisiana State). He has published two memoirs: In the Shadow of Memory (Bison) and A World of Light (Nebraska).

Roger Williams is a native West Virginian, originally from the state’s eastern mountains. He currently works for the State of West Virginia, in Charleston. His writing has appeared in a number of magazines, including Image.

Poetry Is the Spirit of the Dead, Watching


The Everlasting Song


Nothing More




To the Lost One Third


The Visitation


Afternoon Swim


A Conversation with Alice McDermott


Omaha, Eastbound


Louise McClary: Landscapes of Love


The Back of God’s Head


The End of Suffering


Playing the Bawd at Twenty


Of Dissonance and Touch: A Movement in Sonata Form


Rabbi Worth


When Marriage Is a Tomb Where Silence Dwells


Modern Culture and Christian Renewal


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