Style and Substance: A Reconsideration of J.F. Powers

Zach Czaia

It is more or less universally agreed that J.F. Powers was a master. In appreciative essay after essay, critics have saluted the man’s craft as a writer—especially his craft as a writer of short stories. Fellow writers of fiction especially never fail to praise his ability to move from sentence to sentence with utter gracefulness and ease. However, what rarely—if ever—comes in for praise is Powers’ predominant choice of subject matter, the lives of Roman Catholic priests. Considering the irreligious nature of the contemporary world, this should come as no surprise. Nor is it necessarily unfair. Powers’ material, like that of any writer, is not inherently praiseworthy; rather, it is what he has done with it that has made it come alive, and thrillingly so. His priests live, and live on, in our imaginations. [Read more…]

Book Review: The Eternal Smile: Three Stories

Reviewed by Matthew Lickona

The Eternal Smile: Three Stories
By Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
First Second, 2009
176 pp., $16.95
ISBN: 1596431563

Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang writes on his website, “I’ve always struggled with how to incorporate my faith into my comics in an authentic way.” (Yang is Catholic; the line comes in a description of how he came to write The Rosary Comic Book.) He also writes that The Eternal Smile: Three Stories, his collaboration with artist Derek Kirk Kim, is about “the relationship between fantasy and reality,” and how “geek fantasy media can suck the life right outta ya.” [Read more…]

Book Review: House of Words

Reviewed by Joseph O’Brien

House of Words
By Jonathan Potter
Korrektiv Press, 2010
94 pp., $15
ISBN: 1439258031

“Nature is a Haunted House—but Art—a House that tries to be haunted.” Penned in a letter to her sponsor and editor T.W. Higginson, Emily Dickinson zeroes in here on what the human imagination is about when it sets down to create—although “create” is not quite the word we want in this case. [Read more…]

Mary, Queen of Angels 2010

Achilleus Now: Core Texts, the Good Life, and Democratic Society  Robert T. Miller

In the Wine Press  Joshua Hren

The Goat Cart  John Quintero

Poem with a line from the Desert Fathers  Sabrina Vourvoulias

The Fourth Man  Marjorie Maddox

A Triolet for the Tridentine Mass  Christopher Nield

Epigram  Micah Mattix

Cloud  Tom Noe

Petit Souci and Poinsettias  Joseph O’Brien

Theogony and Breakfast  Joseph O’Brien

Our Lady of the Apples  Ketha Spicer

Oneselves  Bryce A. Taylor

Husk  Bryce A. Taylor

Faces at a Reunion  R.S. Mitchell

Keeping Promises  John Goslee

Assisi  Stephen Milne

Pistol Meadow  Stephen Milne

The Greenwich Observatory  Stephen Milne

After  Stephen Milne

Style and Substance: A Reconsideration of J.F. Powers Zach Czaia

“I’ve, like, got to get there, like, now”: A Rant on Language, Unintelligibility, and Irreverence  Eleanor Bourg Donlon

Art and Photography
Fishing Lodge  Rick Westcott

Sooes Beach  Rick Westcott

Cape Flattery I  Rick Westcott

Cape Flattery II  Rick Westcott

Lake Crescent  Rick Westcott

Greenlake  Rick Westcott

Fishing Lodge II  Rick Westcott

Bainbridge I  Rick Westcott

Bainbridge II  Rick Westcott

The Eternal Smile: Three Stories Matthew Lickona

House of Words  Joseph O’Brien

Achilleus Now: Core Texts, the Good Life, and Democratic Society

Robert T. Miller

When I was in graduate school at Columbia University, I taught a section of a course called Literature Humanities, a year-long course in western literature required of all first-year students in Columbia College. Beginning with Homer and the Greek dramatists and historians, the syllabus continues with the Hebrew and Christian scriptures and then moves on in the second semester to Virgil, Augustine, Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Austen, Dostoevsky, and others in the twentieth century. The first text on the syllabus is the Iliad. Although I am now a law professor at Villanova University, this fall I lectured on the Iliad to the first-year undergraduate students of a friend of mine who teaches Villanova’s Augustine and Culture Seminar, a course very much like Literature Humanities. Teaching Homer again after almost a decade—and teaching him to college freshman—reminded me of the nobility of my profession as a teacher. [Read more…]