Kalos Art PrizeIssue 34

the RUMINATE blog

The Definition of an Open Heart

The Definition of an Open Heart

Every day my 10-year-old son brings home a vocabulary word we’re supposed to discuss over dinner for his homework. They are called “Dinner Plate Words” and after we talk about it he writes out two sentences using the word. Recently his word was “vulnerable.” He read a definition out loud: “A state of weakness; open to attack.” He composed the sentences fairly quickly. I recall one said, “The mouse was vulnerable after the cat attacked it.” His next sentence also mentioned an attack or some other kind of struggle. Read More »

On Suffering and Steadiness

On Suffering and Steadiness

I live in the southwest, or, more particularly, the far southwest corner of this great, rugged-ragged hunk of earth―where it ends in an endless seascape. It―San Diego County―is an unordinary panorama, with its potpourri of terrains and neighborhoods and breathtaking shorelines.

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Hector’s Story: Why I Teach Poetry in College Composition

Hector’s Story: Why I Teach Poetry in College Composition

Recently I listened to a Krista Tippet interview of Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest who has worked to develop and foster community for youth who find themselves growing up in gang cultures in Los Angeles. In the interview, Boyle recounts his experiences of teaching many young men to see themselves anew and how their relationships often spark, in him, a feeling of gratitude towards what these young men teach him.

Does this resonate for you? Many of my greatest and most profound teachers are people who never knew they were teaching anyone.

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Word Flesh: Writing and Healing

Word Flesh: Writing and Healing

“What is love, for a woman, the same thing as writing. Laugh. Impossible. Flash on the unnameable, woven of abstractions to be torn apart. Let a body finally venture out of its shelter, expose itself in meaning beneath a veil of words. WORD FLESH. From one to the other, eternally, fragmented visions, metaphors of the invisible.” – Julia Kristeva

What does it mean, what could it possibly mean, to write from the heart? What can it mean to write from and for and in the blooming of and in the midst of and in the losing of love? These are the things I have been thinking of.

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Finding Place

Finding Place

I was fascinated by Scott Laumann’s recent post about space and place and American identity. I think a lot about place, write a lot about place. In fact, I’ve just moved back to my native mountains after a decade’s absence, and daily I make the commute to my university, winding through the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains where my family settled some 220 years ago.

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How to Give Helpful Feedback to an Artist

How to Give Helpful Feedback to an Artist

Religion has rarely had a comfortable—or functional—relationship with art. This would be annoying, but tolerable, if art had nothing to do with artists.

In an era when it’s vogue to write theologies of the arts, permissible to release art from the “music ministry” cloister, and feasible to salary arts pastors, many churches are still limping when it comes to incorporating the persons of artists into the body of Christ. Churches may be figuring out what to do with art. But they have no idea what to do with artists.

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