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Letters

PIO’S NO-NO? My Jewish children are proud Americans born and raised in New York. When they were young, they learned a game from older children that they played and taught to younger children. It is a form of tag in which the person who is “it” yells a catchphrase, and everyone on “base” . . . . Continue Reading »

Phenomenology of the Hand

If you teach high school or college students, or have kids who are passing through those ­places, and if your duties include grading papers, or you watch your kids struggle with writing assignments, I have a piece of advice. Tell them to try composing by hand, with pen and paper, not on the . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

MFA OR NOT?When I met Randy Boyagoda, I told him that I was pursuing an MFA in fiction and he genially disapproved: “No! Why?” I forget what I answered. But most MFAs, when surveyed, will say, “I want time to write.” Any MFA program worth getting into will give you a reasonable stipend for . . . . Continue Reading »

Putting the Soul in Tune

This is a book about how poetry can save you. More specifically, it is a book about how poetic rhythm can reset the harmony of your body and soul. In his powerful and original reading of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, Stephen Blackwood uncovers a sustained musical therapy during which the imprisoned poet moves from baffled despair at the world’s injustice to contemplative joy over providential order.

Write Away

The most electrifying reading experience I’ve had this past year came 656 pages into Donna Tartt’s recent novel, The Goldfinch. A twenty-first-century young American’s adventure story, its action moves from wealthy Manhattan to Great Recession–era Las Vegas to decadent high-end European . . . . Continue Reading »

Brokenness and Modern Poetry

Readers charged that Kathleen Graber's poetry was “slovenly” and “shapeless.” As the poetry editor of First Things, I thought I’d step in and open a wider discussion of poetry, particularly as it pertains to First Things Continue Reading »

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