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Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

What Does It Mean to Be a “Religious” Poet?

By Brian VolckNovember 22, 2019

What does it mean to be labeled a “religious poet” in the twenty-first century? The term’s undoubtedly fraught, but “fraught” is perhaps the best word to describe the current relationship between religion and pretty much everything. Small wonder, though, if one accepts the argument of scholars such as Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Talal Asad, and Brent…

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Softness at the End of the World

By Aarik DanielsenNovember 11, 2019

  O you who want to slaughter us, we’ll be dead soon enough what’s the rush / and this is our only world. / Now bring me a souvenir from the desecrated city, / something tender, something that might bloom. Poet Deborah Landau closes her collection Soft Targets with this devastating couplet, the cry of…

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Belief and the Body with Molly McCully Brown

Poet Molly McCully Brown’s prizewinning first collection, The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, is about a real, state-run residential hospital for people with serious mental and physical disabilities that was the epicenter of the American eugenics movement in the first half of the twentieth century. If she’d been born in another time, Molly Brown might have been a patient at the Virginia Colony.

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Robert Cording, Simon Weil, and “Attention”

By Peggy RosenthalJuly 25, 2019

Decades ago, when I was being drawn from atheism through agnosticism toward Christianity, somehow Simone Weil’s writings came into my hands. Literally into my hands: so struck was I by her words that I copied pages and pages of them into my journal. Weil became my spiritual director. She led my spirit to eventually embrace…

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What Poetry Can Teach Us About Parenting in the Age of Trump

By Joanna Penn CooperJuly 9, 2019

I’ve been working on an essay on another subject for weeks now, taking notes about poetry and desire, desire and the search for God. But whenever I sit down to write, all I can think about are concentration camps. It happens every night when I get in bed, too. I get under the covers, my body begins to…

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Art as Survival: The Terezín Concentration Camp

By Peggy RosenthalJune 17, 2019

I go to lots of classical music concerts, but I’ve never been so moved as I was by this one. It wasn’t just the profundity of the music; it was also, and especially, the context in which it was composed. The concert was called Music from Terezín Concentration Camp. I’m ashamed to admit that I…

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Meet Me in “Eremitaggio”

By Richard ChessMay 20, 2019

“The Kotzker Rebbe–” * Devotion to God. Devotion to Art. Immersion. Withdrawal. * Four paths: Into the world. Apart from the world. Through the world. Beyond the world.* I’ve heard of him: the Kotzker Rebbe. Haven’t I heard at least one of his teachings from any of a million rabbis from whom I’ve learned? Rebbe:…

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So Who Mothers the Mothers?

By Joanna Penn CooperApril 22, 2019

“So who mothers the motherswho tend the hallways of mothers, the spill of mothers, the smell of mothers, who mend the eyes of mothers” –Catherine Barnett, “Chorus” On Easter, I go to my son’s father’s house—Sundays are one of his days—and watch my son enjoy his basket, which I spun from thin air the night…

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Poetry Friday: “Lord of the hopeless also dear”

By Shane McCraeApril 19, 2019

Lord of the hopeless also dear     Hat-Soak Pole-in-the-Canal and Red-Tie Father     Son And Holy Ghost not     in that order break The rottenness of those who torture one Of Thy least wrath-deserving exiles me Not     wholly undeserving     no     but some And isn’t it the some that counts with Thee O     Gondola also as the trees pass…

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The Place of the Imagination in Spiritual Experience

By Richard ChessApril 8, 2019

Does the imagination play a role in spiritual experience, I asked. How about in religious experience? On a Thursday morning late in the semester, a dozen undergraduates–honors students–and I gathered in a circle in the Laurel Forum, a room with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves along one wall, another wall all windows opening onto the campus quad. A…

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