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Issue 92

Featuring a group art exhibition centered around the history and contemporary culture of South Africa, as well as the subversive figurative sculptures of Cindy Jackson, a compelling artist who sadly lost her battle with cancer as this issue went to press. Read a previously-untranslated short story by Shūsaku Endō, author of Silence (which was recently adapted for film by Martin Scorsese). Plus our web-exclusive interview with Endō’s primary English translator, Van Gessel, on Endō’s wide-ranging work and the relationship between Western Christianity to faith in Japan. In nonfiction, there’s Kevin Honold's account of discovering The Cloud of Unknowing while on parole for false charges, and Christian Bobin’s meditation on “the Sovereignty of the Void.” Natalie Vestin reviews books that reveal the “sublime terror” of a “nightmare God” who moves beneath all art. And Gregory Wolfe on Emmanuel Carrère’s The Kingdom. Poems by Michel Houellebecq, Dana Littlepage Smith, Robert Cording, John F. Deane, and others. This issue also features an interview with (and poem by) poet James McMichael.  

Contributors

Alison Anderson is a novelist and translator. Her most recent novel, The Summer Guest (Harper), based on an episode in the life of Anton Chekhov, was published last year. She was awarded a grant from the NEA for her translations of works by Christian Bobin. She lives in Switzerland.

Christian Bobin was born in 1951 and lives on a commune in Le Creusot, France, a town he has “never left.” The reader is advised that the following sentence should suffice as a self-portrait: “It is not to become a writer that one writes; it is to approach in silence that love which is lacking in all love.”

Gavin Bowd is a writer and translator who has worked with Michel Houellebecq on a number of books. He is a senior lecturer and head of the department of modern languages at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland.

Aaron Cooley is a language enthusiast, MBA, consultant, data scientist, musician, and proud father of two. He studied Japanese at Brigham Young University, where he came across the work of Shuūsaku Endō and translated “Hymn to the Blessed Mother.”

Robert Cording is professor emeritus at College of the Holy Cross, where he was the Barrett Professor of Creative Writing. His collections of poems include Common Life, Walking with Ruskin, Only So Far (all from CavanKerry), and A Word in My Mouth: Selected Spiritual Poems (Wipf & Stock). He teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Seattle Pacific University.

John F. Deane was born on Achill Island in 1943. In 1979 he founded Poetry Ireland and the Poetry Ireland Review, which he currently edits. He has published several collections of poetry, including Snow Falling on Chestnut Hill: New & Selected Poems and Semibreve (both from Carcanet).

Dante Di Stefano is the author of Love Is a Stone Endlessly in Flight (Brighthorse). His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in Brilliant Corners, Los Angeles Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. He is poetry editor for Dialogist, poetry book review editor for Arcadia, and a correspondent for Best American Poetry Blog.

Sharon Dolin is the author of six books of poems, most recently Manual for Living, Whirlwind, and Burn and Dodge (all from Pittsburgh), winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. The recipient of a 2016 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant, she directs and teaches in the international workshop Writing about Art in Barcelona.

Shuūsaku Endō (1923–96) was one of the most prominent Japanese writers of the twentieth century. Baptized a Catholic in his youth, his lifelong personal and literary labor was to fashion a strain of Christianity that could harmonize with Japanese cultural values. His novels include The Samurai (1980), Deep River (1993), and Silence (1966), recently adapted for the screen by Martin Scorsese. The original Japanese version of the story in this issue first appeared in the Japanese literary journal Bungakukai in 1976.

Alex Fleming translates contemporary literature and drama from Swedish and Russian into English. Her translations include works by Ilya Chlaki, Alexei Slapovsky, and Cilla Naumann.

Gordon L. Fuglie, a UCLA-educated art historian, began his career at the J. Paul Getty Museum, continued at UCLA’s Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, and then directed the Laband Gallery at Loyola Marymount University. He currently works as an art journalist and independent curator.

R.M. Haines is a poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, Poetry Northwest, Poets.org, Salamander, and Spoon River Poetry Review.  He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Kevin Honold’s first book of poetry, Men as Trees Walking (Ohio State), was published in 2010. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Cincinnati.

Michel Houellebecq is a French novelist, poet, and literary critic. His novels include the international bestseller Submission (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), The Elementary Particles (Knopf), and The Map and the Territory (William Heinemann), which won the 2010 Prix Goncourt. He lives in France.

Maxim Osipov, a cardiologist and social activist, is also renowned in his native Russia as a writer of short fiction. His works have been translated into French, Spanish, Catalan, Croatian, Lithuanian, English, and German.

Dana Littlepage Smith lives in Devon, England, where she paints, walks, and gardens. A freelance teacher, she also works at Exeter University helping theology students with their dissertation presentations. She has published four collections of poetry, most recently The Book of the Breast (Cinnamon), which is in part a praise-song for the National Health Service.

Rachel Hostetter Smith is Gilkison Distinguished Professor of Art History at Taylor University. Her work has appeared in many books and journals, and she is curator and project director of the international exhibitions Between the Shadow & the Light, Charis: Boundary Crossings, and a new project in development, Matter and Spirit, out of China.

Matthew Thorburn is the author of six collections of poetry, including the long poem Dear Almost (LSU) and the chapbook A Green River in Spring (Autumn House). He lives in New York City.

Leslie Williams’s first book, Success of the Seed Plants, won the Bellday Prize. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Slate, Shenandoah, Southern Review, Smartish Pace, and other magazines. She received the Robert Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America and grants in poetry from the Illinois Arts Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Natalie Vestin is the author of Gomorrah, Baby (Anchor & Plume), and Shine a light, the light won’t pass (Miel). She is a research associate at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

Web-Exclusive

Read Mary Kenagy Mitchell’s conversation with Van Gessel, Shūsaku Endō’s primary English translator since the 1970s.

Wednesday. Mayence—Rhine Valley—Koblenz


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Evening without Mist


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Life Says


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To the One Who Tames


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[Almost nothing happened…]


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The Cloud of Unknowing


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Sovereignty of the Void


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Rock, Paper, Scissors


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Domestic


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Hymn to the Blessed Mother


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Mary, Mother


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Relic


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Still Mending: South Africa between the Shadow and the Light


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Fat Tuesday


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Kestrel


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Cindy Jackson’s Bevy of Boisterous Bodies


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Exodus


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Name and Kind


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The Nightmare God: Art and Sublime Terror


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Crewelwork


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Spring Begetting


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diploria strigosa fossil by james st john on flickr

Inventing the Kingdom


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Create in Me a Clean Heart O God


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Morning Prayer with Hopkins’ Kestrel


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A Conversation with Van Gessel


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My Life as an Open-Air Temple


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Graveyard Prayer


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A Conversation with James McMichael


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