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Lanugo


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A poem for Saint Wilgefortis, the bearded patron of women seeking liberation.

Field of Encounter: A Conversation with G.C. Waldrep


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It is one thing to write an inspirational poem about the raising of Lazarus, from this great distance in time and space, and another to be Lazarus: to be the one who is raised. I think any genuine religious art leads the reader (and presumably the writer) to a place of encounter, an encounter with radical otherness.

To a Shelf Fungus in Acadia National Park


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Is it possible / that your experience / is a form of joy? / Or a word for joy, / in an unspeakable / tongue.

Spiritual Exercises in Jayville


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Jesus, is he everyone’s digits, the ends of your hairs, the wife not your own, the sexless nights, the bleeding snapvine, the Lysander leaf, the dish soap, the Council of Trent, Battle of Hastings, the pill, Saint Augustine, Saint Vincent, every couplet of Shakespeare’s and each child’s drowning nightmare—does he contain them all, things lovely or horrifying, is this him, all of everything stuffed inside? How does one bear such a man as this?

Mater Misericordiae


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I lifted the calendar from / / its nail and thumbed through the other Marys: / a stylish Guadalupe radiating needles / for October, Michelangelo’s marble / draped in the corpse of Christ for March

The Cleft in the Rock: A Theology of Negative Spaces


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And yet attentive artists and viewers understand that negative spaces are integral to compositions, and at times even the key to understanding them. From a theological perspective, they can constitute gateways to the sublime, eliciting a sense of more-than.

Mausoleum for a Scorpio


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‘Speak to us of poetry and politics,’ / he said to me from his seat in the audience / as I was on stage.

Curator’s Corner: Prospect New Orleans


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For many years the notion of spirituality in art seemed sort of taboo, but we’ve both consistently worked with artists who draw on notions of ritual, religious iconography, the otherworldly, and spirituality in their work or process.

An Aesthetic of Lack, or Notes on Camps


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Paschal could not leave his beloved mother’s head bare. How could he? For he knew that nature gapes with lack. He knew that we’re meant to be hooked up to something else, as if our skulls were plugs. Or to put it another way: he knew that all of us are amputees from moment we’re born.

Corcomroe Abbey


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Of course, we too came here / hoping to be cracked open, amazed.

Healing the Imagination: Art Lessons from James Baldwin


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Our society is grappling with a soul-sickness that is ultimately an infection of our imagination. An election may address symptoms, but how do we treat the underlying disease? How to heal the imagination? Perhaps this is what the arts are for.

The Jordan Turned Its Back and Fled


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Yusef is so taken with the woman in black that he stares at her as she makes her way to the back of the van, and he forgets himself, and Iordannis has to remind him to start the van. Yusef decides right then and there that he will have her picture.

Floodlight


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Our bare hands redden as we work, / he high on the ladder cutting the old / connections, and I drilling / outlet hole through the siding.

An Extravagance


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He then went on, as if he were reading from a script, which I realized later he was, to list my severance package, which wouldn’t get me through the new year. It took me a second to realize someone from HR was in the office with him.

Globes


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Son’s / net-/ works / / veins under / the skin / of the dark / / call / see/ knock! / / a chandelier / glows / in the dark

Original Light: Post-Cancer Portraits


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Cancer has allowed me to view myself as a canvas; my body has been primed, stretched, cut, and painted. My blood is paint, the needle is the brush, and my body is the canvas.

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