Br. Monday is still on retreat to heal after the bandit attack. Let’s join him and the retreat master for a moment… There is a room in a house on the Via San Domenico in Rome where I am sometimes able to go and write. like every part of this house, this room has its … More Design
I was on a plane holding back tears. I came to Ron Hansen’s Exiles knowing every character would die. It is a book about a shipwreck, a book about a famous poem memorializing the deaths of five nuns in that shipwreck. I knew Hopkins would die. But in that moment when the first nun was … More “I am Happy, so Happy”: Remembering Father Gerard
A beautiful response to Hopkins’ poetry. I love how words chime together in it and how it begins with the sound, “Oh.” So Hopkinsian!
We Swedes can be a dark people. Bergman’s films play out isolation and suffering in stark, meditative shades. His are the films of spider gods and depressive priests. Norse poetry is for waking up to days of near twilight and an overcast sky. We come from austere Midwestern families who learned from the cold that they didn’t have to … More Farväl Älskade Bror
Gerard Manley Hopkins can be seen as a poet of despair. In 1991, the Russian composer, Leonid Desyatnikov adapted his poem, “The Leaden Echo,” to music. He assigns a male countertenor the role of the speaker, and the boy’s haunting voice captures the essence of the maiden chorus. Counter to the rhythm of the music, the … More Why the Leaden Echo Isn’t Enough
In One Writer’s Beginnings, the southern novelist, Eudora Welty, describes how she became a loving observer. At the age of six or seven, she was bedridden for several months due to a heart condition. During this time, she was allowed to sleep in her parent’s bed, and they would shade the lamp just right so … More The Loving Kind: Poetry as Community