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

Film & Television

It Follows: A Parable of Original Sin

Good horror—as opposed to purely titillating, shock-value horror—is concerned with the metaphysical reality of good and evil, of right and wrong moral trajectories.

Film & Television

Bloodsucking Straights: Inherent Vice and the Undeath of Counterculture

Emotional intimacy as the means to authenticity in an era of commodified cool

Music & Performing Arts

A Conversation with Josh Garrels

Charles Carman talked Josh Garrels about his new album Home, his vocation as a musician, and how he is eager to see a shift of the typical artist/father paradigm.

Poetry

Iconography

A poem by Samuel Dickison

Humanity

A Meditation on Dirt

Making art is the redemption of dirt, and it can have healing power.

Visual Art

From the Roster: Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo

Escobar-Jaramillo uses participatory practices to bring reconciliation, to throw light on the lives of those across diverse regions of Colombia to try to make sense of the past.

Humanity

Thistledown

If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Literature

Noteworthy: Clive James’s Life Sentence

The Australian poet and critic Clive James has just released two new books—a fine way to start a year when everyone thought you’d be dead.

Poetry

Today is one of those days.

A poem by Sarah Louise Garrido

Film & Television

The Babadook: The Horror We Must Face

A supernatural spin on a taboo affliction and the lonely island of grief

Humanity

Iteration

Creating Better Art through the Process of Revision

Visual Art

Representing Women in Contemporary Religious Painting

Bruce Herman’s QU4RTETS as Marian Typologies

Poetry

Barn Swallows

A poem by Amy Katherine Cannon

Literature

D.H. Lawrence and Discontent with the Modern World

Lawrence is the perfect picture of a man caught between two rival experiences of consciousness and the world it perceives.

Humanity

From the Archives: The Art of Baseball

It’s baseball season once more.

Poetry

Beauna

A poem by Jonathan McGregor

Humanity

Carrie & Lowell & Me

D.L. Mayfield on Forgiveness

Humanity

The Liquidation of Language

“Precision is, after all, not only a form of responsibility and a kind of pleasure, but an instrument of compassion. To be precise requires care, time, and attention to the person, place, or process being described.” – Marilyn Chandler McEntyre

Poetry

Scars & Empty Vases

A poem by Kevin Heaton

Poetry

A Friend Embraces Butoh

A poem by Ellen Foos

Film & Television

Leviathan: When Power Forfeits Law

In Leviathan, earthly powers trample the weak. But there is just enough in Leviathan to hint at a crack in the system, a brief glimmer of light that is enough to keep the downtrodden fighting for truth, justice, and love.

Humanity

Art as Hospitality

A dialogue between Harrell Fletcher and Leah Samuelson

Film & Television

The Voyeur’s Gaze

Everyone is a voyeur, and two recent films, Nightcrawler and Under the Skin, have something to teach us about what the act of watching means.

Literature

The Payoff

Geoffrey Sheehy on what it means to trust in a story’s payoff.

Poetry

Shimmer

A poem by Robert Hamilton

Literature

That Pure Exclusive Music

On Poetry and Memorization

Visual Art

From the Roster:  Konstantin Sergeyev

Sergeyev looks for ways in which groups, consciously or unconsciously, assert their uniqueness and define difference in contrast to mainstream American culture.

Poetry

Remain

A poem by Amy Orazio

Literature

Shirley Jackson and the Ordinariness of Evil

On a fear of conformity—the prospect of becoming someone else’s idea—that compelled Jackson to divulge not only the supernatural but the wickedness of the everyday.

Blog

Scottsdale: Exile

The final of Charles Carman’s five essays on Scottsdale, AZ

Humanity

Scottsdale: Memory

The fourth of Charles Carman’s five essays on Scottsdale, AZ

Humanity

Scottsdale: Tradition

The third of Charles Carman’s five essays on Scottsdale, AZ

Humanity

Scottsdale: Souvenirs

The second of Charles Carman’s five essays on Scottsdale, AZ

Humanity

Scottsdale: Art District

In a suburb of a desert city, a writer finds out what art, souvenirs, history, and memory mean to each other.

Music & Performing Arts

Ballet for the Young Folks

On Sufjan Stevens, Justin Peck, Wendy Whelan and the privilege of aging well with one of our most treasured cultural institutions

Poetry

Ash Wednesday

A Lenten poem by Chris Davidson

Humanity

Noteworthy: Diane Severin on Tinker Creek

May we who find ourselves in the suburbs live so deliberately.

Humanity

You Are What You Watch

In a world saturated with social media and instant video, discernment is relative and discretion is optional.

Humanity

The Cathedral of Junk

Exploring Our Ephemera on Three Levels

Film & Television

On Fairy-stories

Sorina Higgins on how Peter Jacksons’ Hobbit failed to render Tolkien’s three essential elements of good fantasy: Recovery, Escape, and Consolation.

Music & Performing Arts

Revisiting The Age of Adz: Dysfunctional Relationships in a “Noisy Age”

Why not round back just before the release of Stevens’ new album, Carrie & Lowell?

Poetry

Georgic

A poem by Vasiliki Katsarou

Film & Television

Iñárritu’s Illusions: The Cinematic Imagination of Birdman

Like all of Iñárritu’s other films, Birdman is meant to re-educate us in the dramatic interplay between the presence and absence, love and loss, fear and hope we experience in our own lives.

Humanity

Paint Louis

On Tibet’s Drepung Gomang’s monks visiting St. Louis’ annual riveside graffiti event

Poetry

A Little Lightning

A poem by Aaron Belz

Humanity

Safe as Houses

“…whatever you might do elsewhere,
In the time remaining, you might do here
If you can resolve, at last, to pay attention.” – Carl Dennis, “Drugstore”

Humanity

Plato at the Googleplex

Rebecca Goldstein’s newest offering Plato at the Googleplex dusts off the world’s best dialectician and matches his wits with the ideas and pseudo-ideas of contemporary culture.

Poetry

V62.89: Religious or Spiritual Problem

A poem by Carrie Purcell Kahler

Humanity

The Word Is Changing with Its World

Word makes world, and world makes word. To say that a truism is a truism is, itself, a truism.

Music & Performing Arts

A Mess of Help

Pop music, on its own terms, is often an ephemeral pleasure, but A Mess of Help: From the Crucified Soul of Rock N’ Roll shows us how to look at it and then through it to things that really matter, the words that could be, in so many songs, a message from outside our narrow selves, from someone who loves us.

Literature

The Wisdom of The Circle

In The Circle Dave Eggers reveals how present technological advances might be used in efforts to transcend current limits of what we know, what we hope for, what we must do, and what it means to be a human being.

Poetry

Affirmation of Faith

A poem by Kathryn Lester-Bacon…

Visual Art

From the Roster: Len Cicio

Len Cicio’s practice hinges on color, creating urban scenes and forging the structural forms of New York City in wax and color.

Visual Art

Urban Theater: New York in the 1980s

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.” As You Like It

Humanity

The Space Between

Finding grace in the liminal spaces…

Blog

Noteworthy: On Selma

On Scott Tobias’ entry at Dissolve

Humanity

The Pacific North Wet

Chasing after things that glow…

Poetry

All the Morning Birds

A poem by Vito Aiuto

Humanity

A Good Deed is a Naughty Word

China’s Ban on Wordplay

Film & Television

Stephen Colbert: A Requiem

What was The Colbert Report?

Poetry

Afternoon Walk

A new poem by Fredric Koeppel.

Humanity

Another Hemisphere’s Stars

We all need other faces, other lives to throw ourselves into.

Film & Television

Haunted Loves

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a love story, albeit a scary one. And the beautiful adventure of love Amirpour portrays is one where the person beside you may be different than you imagined. They may be much stronger, they may destroy you, and you may destroy them.

Humanity

The Formula in our Stories

The trouble comes when fitting one’s life into a story becomes a formula.

Poetry

New

A poem by Dawn Trook, well-suited for the day.

Humanity

Psalms for Ferguson | The Wise

Innocent question:
Where is the child?

Visual Art

Georgia O’Keeffe: One View

…it wasn’t until I experienced for myself the extent of the repetition and revision of painting the same few objects over and over again—the bones, the flowers, the mountains, the doors—that I understood the collective effect of a long career and close collaboration in not only documenting, but defining a place and time.

Poetry

Nativity

…by John Donne

Film & Television

Why We All Need It’s A Wonderful Life

In this all-time American classic, we find a man who doesn’t seem very American at all.

Visual Art

From the Roster: Joyce Yu-Jean Lee

Joyce Yu-Jean Lee creates video installations, photographs, and performances that examine how societies have historically depicted concepts of enlightenment.

Film & Television

The Knights of Terrence Malick

“With the help of their wings they could fly away to distant regions, blessed regions, where they really had their homes, for here they were but alien sojourners.”—Soren Kierkegaard

Humanity

What We Loved in 2014: Part II

This is part two of our editors and staff writers sharing the books, movies, or music they loved in 2014.

Humanity

What We Loved in 2014: Part I

Instead of a “best of” list we asked our editors and staff writers to share the books, movies, or music they loved in 2014. The selections did not have to be current.

Poetry

QUANDARY OF THE BIG STICK

A poem by Andrew McAlpine

Poetry

The Migration of Robert Hass’s Poetry

“There are moments when the body is as numinous /as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.” -Robert Hass

Poetry

Psalms for Ferguson| BlackLivesMatter

A Litany of Lament and Hope

Humanity

The Discovery Itself Calls forth Further Quests

Adam Joyce, our Editor-in-Chief, answers the question: what is criticism?

Humanity

Psalms for Ferguson | Ad(vent) Nauseum

This is the first in a series of prayers and poems, titled “Psalms for Ferguson,” that Curator will be publishing over the next few weeks.

Poetry

Some days are an empty bolt…

A poem by J. Marcus Weekley

Film & Television

The Purest of Lines: Isao Takahata’s Final Bow

Despite its tenth-century trappings, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a film made with eyes firmly fixed on the troubles of contemporary Japanese life and the deep slide of the Japanese Miracle into the dreary doldrums of the Lost Two Decades.

Visual Art

From the Roster: Beñat Iglesias Lopez

“I feel it is not my responsibility to tell stories through my work but to present the necessary elements so people can build their own.” — Beñat Iglesias Lopez

Humanity

A House for Birds

“Maybe we all dream of being God, the god who breaches dams, moves houses suddenly, erects bridges, decides where forests will be and who will die.” -Rebecca Sonlit

Film & Television

Interstellar, Science Fiction and the Odyssey of Love

Interstellar extends the tradition of science fiction films that underscore the moral condition of the human within a technologically savvy narrative, and it is the antithesis of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity.

Blog

Noteworthy: Is Art Up to the Task?

A little internet fodder for tonight’s dinner table chat ‘n chew.

Poetry

Fasting

A poem by Shiaw-Tian Liaw