In photos of cows and pigs, I began to see sentient souls looking back at me. I would lose my breath at the beauty I had never known to look for in “livestock.” I felt myself peering into the eyes of a goat and searching for a language other than English in which to communicate, a language that has nothing to do with words.
With a poem, faith is a hidden constellation, beginning with the still-mysterious act of writing. The blank page, which is simultaneously white and dark, is the abyss each writer stares into until the moment, as Nietzsche said, where the abyss stares back into the writer.
In the same way, if I spend so much energy and effort trying to create music or art or poetry that is meaningful, or beautiful, shot-through with light, grace, insight, and love, how can that not spill over into working for these things in the larger world?
Like books, blog posts plunge me into a perspective different than my own, but in a way that is immediate, a compact chunk of text to absorb while taking the bus to work, multitasking during a Netflix binge, or sitting on a park bench during my lunch break. The great posts divert me from my comfort zone, helping me see myself, my community, my life, in new ways, sending me back into my day with a subtle shift in perspective, a gentle (or not so gentle) nudge to keep chewing on this new idea.
So when I learned the Lord’s Prayer, it was one of the most liberating moments of my early religious development. The roteness and authority of it were exactly what I needed to get through meal- and bed-time rituals.
I find myself renewing old vows: to care for myself better so I can better care for others. To stand tall, both physically and emotionally. And to adopt and live out a new word for something I have been working at for several years, now.
But it was music that drew out her deepest emotions, her greatest performances. When we were very young, she would sing to us at night the saddest songs you can imagine.
hese poems are my way of honoring the mysteries of the natural world—weather, geology, our human impermanence—using metaphor and image, rhythm and form to understand our roles in such an intricate system.
From issue 10.2, on shelves next week, is Katie Manning. For the past three years, my primary writing project has been a collection of poems with the working title All That Remains. This project began because I was tired of people taking language from the Bible out of context and using it as a weapon … Continue reading Contributor Note, Katie Manning
Instead of simple biographical material, at the end of every issue, we ask our contributor's to reflect on the connections they see between their faith and their work. Every issue, we end up with 20 or so mini-essays on the nature of art. From issue 10.2, here is Cameron Alexander Lawrence: I wrote “The Baptism” … Continue reading Contributor Note, Cameron Lawrence