Humanity

What is a Video Game?

On the new video game The Beginner’s Guide , a small step into a new world of gaming, one focused on approaching narrative in a new way, and provoking thoughts beyond the end of the game itself.

Poetry

Vague Demons

A poem by Autumn Krause

Poetry

Ash Wednesday

A Lenten poem by Chris Davidson

Literature

Cold Wars and Culture Wars

A review of Ludmila Ulitskaya’s The Big Green Tent and the use of beauty in hard times.

Poetry

First

A poem by Holly Day

Film & Television

Old Dark House Movies

Like a lonely old house during a summertime storm, there is a little bit of comedy, a little bit of horror, and a lot of mystery…

Humanity

Faith is a Foreign Country

Searching for counter-culture in a cloistered monastery

Poetry
Humanity

On the Minds of Makers

“In art, the Trinity is expressed in the Creative Idea, the Creative Energy, and the Creative Power—the first imagining of the work, then the making incarnate of the work, and third the meaning of the work.” ―Dorothy L. Sayers

Humanity

Thumbs Down, Crying Eyes

What we’re missing when we use emoji

Poetry

Hospitality

A poem by Laura Flemming

Poetry

Footnote to Augustine

A poem by Calvin Cummnigs

Literature

The Empathy of Gina Berriault

The places her characters go are scary, but they’re also where we find the crux of Berriault’s fiction: a genuine attempt to understand the unresolved.

Poetry

My Friend and I

A poem by Danny P. Barbare

Humanity

Agents of Change

A review of James McCullough’s Sense and Spirituality and how the arts can serves as a catalyst for spiritual growth

Literature

Noteworthy: Cutting through Static

The tiniest things are extremely powerful.

Film & Television

When the Bough Breaks

A malign interloper ferreted out by a pair of canny children, or a mother horribly abused by her own delusional sons?

Music & Performing Arts

Winter Albums: Sounds for the Season

It’s a chilly album, but there’s a lot of warmth sheltered in the ice.

Poetry

The grass tells me what to do.

A poem by Donald Illich

Humanity

The Worlds Numbers Built

Reality and Fantasy in Michael Clune’s Gamelife

Humanity

The Art of Memoir

What Mary Karr’s New Book Teaches Us About Ourselves

Poetry

The Magi

A Christmas Poem by W.B. Yeats

Film & Television

Noteworthy: Aziz Ansari’s Master of None

The point of Master of None’s painstakingly awkward scenario humor is not just that the conversation about race in the world of film and TV still needs to be had, but that in the current climate, it might be impossible to have correctly.

Poetry

A Way of Happening

Personal technology caters to our every wish in order to make the world a more convenient place for us to navigate, but poetry resists the utilitarian, self-oriented posture that certain technological devices encourage.

Poetry

Laundry

A poem by Dolly Lee

Literature

Cormac McCarthy at Christmas

The art of McCarthy can help constitute a moment to ask the questions necessary for finding ourselves in need of such an intervention, supplanting our nostalgia with inquiry and our happiness with real joy.

Poetry

Rose 62

A poem by Michael Schiavo

Humanity

Being Near The End

A photographer’s reflection on the end of a friend’s life

Film & Television

The Landscape of Joy in a Fast-Happy Society

“The best way out is always through.”~ Robert Frost, “A Servant to Servants”

When sadness carves a deep valley in us, it’s also making space for joy to burst in—our holiday at sea.

Poetry

Art of Retail

A poem by Lucas Smith

Humanity

The Sensational Lives of Clergymen

On four Protestant priest-scholars who came not to proselytize, but to remind readers that this world is full of magic, some of which is conducted in the shadows.

Film & Television

Ex Machina and Technological Somnambulism

“We become what we behold.”— Marshall McLuhan

Poetry

The Poem of Questions

A poem by Manash Bhattacharjee 

Film & Television

The Scientific Method at the Metroplex

In a genre that tends to glorify science, progress, and interplanetary exploration compounded with a culture that values rugged individualism, The Martian refreshingly reinforces fundamental impulse towards compassion.

Music & Performing Arts

Fervent Self-Searching in Daloy Dance’s “Canton Atbp”

Portraying the sex workers of Manila, desired and desiring bodies permeated Ea Torrado’s dance “Canton Atbp” at the 2015 Fringe Manila Arts Festival.

Poetry

White

A poem by Laura Cronk

Poetry

The Poet Who Murdered His Wife

The lives of Gu Cheng and Xie Ye

Film & Television

A Beautiful, Terrible Sound

In Crimson Peak, del Toro’s fantastical aesthetics are on full display, especially if one listens closely.

Humanity

Caring Who Wins

What really matters is that I choose a team and commit to rooting for someone, because that is how I become part of the story.

Poetry

Graffiti Guy

A poem by John Grey

Poetry

After the Exile

A poem by Corey Mesler

Film & Television

Already, Not Yet

The Wobbly Framework of a Curated Life in Noah Baumbach’s film While We’re Young

Humanity

Dinosaurs, Time Travel, and the Importance of Being Where You Are

Charity S. Craig on memory, Amy Poehler, and the act of discovery

Literature

Red Wolf

The Politics of the Most Prominent Werewolf Novel

Film & Television

Living the Fantasy

Sarah Hanssen and Joshua Adler talk about the online fantasy sports world, gambling, and the joys and frustrations of sport mediated by social media, phone firmly hand.

Humanity

ESSO—SO—SO—SO

Regardless of the course title, I try to read a poem aloud at the beginning of every class I teach. Some of my college freshmen love this, but most probably don’t. Like me at their age, they do not carry poetry around in their heads to help them make sense of what is happening around them. Yet

Literature

Perpetual Rediscoveries

On Reading, Memory, and the Literary Canon

Poetry

Repetitions

A poem by Shia-Tian Liaw

Food & Drink

Tasting Wonder

The new Netflix-produced Chef’s Table does not involve competitions, recipe demonstrations, or reality-TV drama. Instead, it elegantly captures the mood at the nexus of memory, creativity, and food, uncovering the underlying attitude toward the act of creation itself.

Humanity

Terroir and the Phenomenology of Place

Julie Hamilton’s recollections from the Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, NM

Poetry

Grief

A poem by Eric Wyatt

Blog

A Note from Our Editor

Would you consider contributing to our Patreon campaign?

Humanity

Perec in Purmerend

The stream seems like something that could have only begun as a joke, but in fact, it didn’t. The webcam which streams a roundabout in the sleepy suburban town of Purmerend in the Netherlands came to life as an internet connection test: was it possible to stream high-definition video live over the internet? The answer: a resounding yes.

Literature

A Half-hearted Pilgrim

On Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and stories of travel and transformation.

Film & Television

The Bible Quiz Subculture

The strangeness of my subculture hit home when I watched the documentary Bible Quiz, they story of two teenage members of a Bible quizzing team who memorized hundred of verses to win a spot in the national tournament.

Poetry

The Great Glass Sea

A poem by Ryan Mattern

Humanity

Life at Keleti Station

What is it to be a stranger?

Hungary recently found its cacophonous answers to those questions on public display.

Humanity

If a Tree Falls

One of our authors tackled a familiar philosophical thought experiment. Here is his story.

Poetry

An Unfortunate Remark

A poem by Donal Mahoney

Humanity

The Genus and Species of Writing

Are publishers limiting the scope and quality of writers’ work when they force them into strict categories?

Humanity

Noteworthy: Banksy’s Dismaland

…where consumerism blocks people from reality.

Music & Performing Arts

A Call to Lament

On the ‘80s New Wave band Tears for Fears’ Songs from The Big Chair, Walter Bruggeman, the Psalms and the idea of fully pressing into pain as a pathway out of grief.

Blog

Noteworthy: The Art of 9/11

Has the art of our times adequately grappled with the events that left the whole world changed?

Film & Television

On Thought Crimes

An Interview with Eren Lee Carr about her new film and the ethical dilemmas of criminalizing fantasies and punishing intentions.

Music & Performing Arts

Screaming for Silence

The Apophatic Theology of mewithoutYou

Visual Art

Noteworthy: Perfect Likeness

Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition, a current exhibition at UCLA’s Hammer museum, explores the tension between art photography and commercial photography.

Poetry

At 2am

A poem by Wynn Everett

Visual Art

From the Roster: Yanina Shevchenko

Yanina Shevchenko is a Russian-born photographer who combines social research and visual practice

Film & Television

Kuleshov’s Effect: The Man behind Soviet Montage

We make films—Kuleshov made cinematography.

Music & Performing Arts

Beyond Shuffle Play

As a love note to our readers: a few of Drew Dernavich’s favorite curated mixes + his thoughts on the art of putting one track in front of the other

Poetry

Alizarin Crimson

A poem by J. Marcus Weekley

Film & Television

Interpretation and Loneliness

Thoughts on The End of the Tour

Film & Television

Noteworthy: Realise Minas Tirith

For the equivalent of 2.9 billion US dollars, the shining city J.R.R. Tolkien wrote about in Return of the King could become a real-life city in southern England.

Humanity

The Apocalypse of Seveneves

One should approach Neal Stephenson’s book as one would an ancient apocalypse: with an incredible hope for a beginning in an end.

Literature

A Halfway Review of a Sometime Farmer

On reading and loving the work Noel Perrin, a Vermont essayist

Visual Art

The Italian Girl: An Old Tale

La Meditazione, by Francesco Hayez is a metaphysical romance, a meditation on Existence Itself.

Visual Art

Noteworthy: Janet Echelman

As If It Were Already Here is Echelman’s monumental, aerial sculpture suspended over Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway

Poetry

Country Crow

A poem by D.R. James

Humanity

The Literature of Witness

On Alan Jacobs’ thoughts on authors as the “best new arbiters” of spiritual wisdom in our century, infusing literature with the power to witness.

Humanity

Noteworthy: On James Tate

Chasing after the mystery in the ordinary

Visual Art

Flaming June at the Frick Collection

A paradox of present immediacy and deferred intimacy

Film & Television

Seven Minutes that Shook the World

The Revolutionary Cinematics of Sergei Eisenstein

Humanity

Untrending

Aaron Belz on what we lose with our lack of limits and hyperconnectivity.

Poetry

Endless

A poem by Aaron Brown

Humanity

The Keurig Invasion

There is a shared cost to the individual, Jetsonian convenience the Keurig lends to domestic and office life.

Film & Television

On Advantageous

Jennifer Phang’s dystopian sci-fi vision is as concerned about us as it is about the future.

Literature

The Book we Need

Amidst controversy about the release of Go Set a Watchman, D.L. Mayfield argues that in these “prejudiced times,” it points out the blind spots we have accrued on the journey toward reconciliation.

Humanity

On God and Education

The crisis in higher education represents a small aspect of the larger questions of meaning and purpose and value.

Poetry

Trees Painted White

after John Sloan’s “The Picnic Grounds”

Humanity

Editing Suburbia

I have seen the poetic, transcendent glory in my neighborhood, and I am here to write, my feet grounded in suburban soil.

FFM

Tom Waits’ Carnivalesque

Tom Waits, a preacher of the “dysangelion” (bad news), rhapsodizes the depravity of the world as normative, showing us not to take for granted the surprise of something not going wrong.

Visual Art

Noteworthy: Getting Someone to Care

On public mourning and the work of Colombian artist Doris Salcedo

Poetry

Announcement

A poem by Ellen Foos

FFM

The Scar in the Sound

Tom Waits and the Acoustics of Incarnation

Music & Performing Arts

On Woolf Works

Ballet and the Nature of the Self

Humanity

True Eccentricity

“…each moment is a new and shocking valuation of all we have been…” — T.S. Eliot

Visual Art

From the Roster: Melissa Browder Beck

everyday objects reminiscent with a sense of the familiar

Poetry

Remembering

A poem by Timothy E. G. Bartel

Film & Television

A Song of Ice and Fire, and Hope?

Matthew Civico on hope and justice in Game of Thrones.

Humanity

Reckoning with the Past

Hannah Peckham tracks down the source of a misattributed quotation and what it means for how we understand the past.

Film & Television

A Planetary Reckoning

On Planetary, a new, ecologically-concerned documentary directed by Guy Reid

Humanity

Noteworthy: Constellation at Bannerman Castle

On Land Art, ephemerality, and the vastness of the universe

FFM

Get Free

On Lauryn Hill’s “MTV Unplugged No. 2.0” performance and the liberating reality of the gospel.

Humanity

Renewing the Dialect of the Tribe

A conversation with Marilyn Chandler McEntyre on the responsibilities of writers, fidelity to communal conversations, and how we talk about death

Poetry

Join the Navy: Ask Me about It

A poem by William Doreski

Literature

Voice and Intimacy in Robinson’s Lila

What does it take to cross the distance between one human and another?

Blog

Noteworthy: TREExOFFICE

Caring for nature is not merely a way of caring for an abstract future

Film & Television

Truth Clothed in Fiction

As post-modern novels, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler offer their ethical and philosophical concerns subtly, intertwined in story.

Music & Performing Arts

Creator’s Journal

A playwright’s notes on producing theatre, parenting, and the incarnation of our invisible spirits.

Literature

Proust’s English Muse

C.K. Scott Moncrieff was what all good men should be: a contradiction; and he sought what all good men should seek: divine grace.

Humanity

The Wikipedian Harp

Without true otherness, there can be no transcendence. Listen to Wikipedia is a small sign that ours might be an age of dwindling aesthetics.

Film & Television

The (Un)bridled Eros of Don Draper

Human desire for peace, our mad longing to be known and loved, is transformed into an economic stimulant. We all want The Real Thing—the best (m)ad men know that better than most.

Poetry

Accidental Discovery

A poem Richard King Perkins II

Film & Television

On Bro Genius and Shelley’s Mad Genius

Alex Garland’s Ex Machina is not simply a test of humanity, but a test of monstrosity.

CIVA

Found Theology and Found-Footage Film

Christian Marclay’s The Clock and Theological Aesthetics

Literature

The Musical Brain: Detectives of Infinity

César Aira materializes reality as it is: an infinite polyhedron.

Visual Art

Magic Powers: The Generous Work of Charley Friedman

“I just want real reactions. I want people to laugh from the gut, be sad from the gut, or get angry from the gut.” —Andy Kauffman

Poetry

Somewhere

A poem by Kathryn Lester-Bacon

FFM

Till I Collapse: From Tupac to Lecrae

Lecrae has woken up from the nightmare. And to those still asleep he must sound very strange.

Visual Art

How Art Cares

Reflections on New Perspectives, a Dean Renwick Field exhibition at Cairn University

Blog

Noteworthy: The Future Library

A thousand trees are growing in Norway until 2114 when they will be cut down and used to print an anthology of the works written for The Future Library.

Film & Television

Kings of Nowhere

“Show-Don’t-Tell” Documentary: A Turn towards Simplicity and the Sublime

Visual Art

Questioning Our Vision

Learning to See With David Hammons

Poetry

Mission to Play

A poem by Marjorie Maddox

Humanity

Meet Ello.

We recently talked with Paul Budnitz, CEO of Ello, the “revolutionary social network that is transforming how people connect.”

Film & Television

Hope in the Wasteland

Daniel Saunders reviews Mad Max: Fury Road.

Humanity

Remembering, Divisions, and Dust

To dust we are/and to dust we shall return.

Visual Art

FROM HOSTILITY TO HOSPITALITY

Felix Gonzalez-Torres was able to harness the most powerful and effective weapons of opposition: empathy, shared experience, and hospitality.

FFM

Holy Rock and Rollers

Pentecostalism was an antidote to rigid and stifling fundamentalist practices, while rock was bucking an oppressive life as a “square,” resisting the “rat race” in an age of anxiety.

Poetry

1963 –

A poem by Glen Armstrong

Humanity

Guy In Your MFA

One pretentious, mansplaining, literary tweet at a time, “Guy In Your MFA” has become an internet phenomenon. Adam Joyce caught up with Dana Schwartz, the creator of the hilarious Twitter parody account, which to date has garnered over 50,000 followers.

Humanity

Forgetting Tomorrow

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.” Ursula K. LeGuin, Left Hand of Darkness

Poetry

To Contest A Parking Citation

A poem by Nick Maurer

FFM

The Politics of Consumption

On rethinking music criticism: contrary to what you might think or assume, you are an explicit, crucial and fundamental participant in the music industry.

Film & Television

The Leftovers and Hebrew Wisdom Literature

Dr. Brian Toews on if HBO’s The Leftovers can be understood as a wisdom tale.

Poetry

Sustainability

A poem by Paul J. Willis