Links to writings of Dappled Things editors, contributors, and others—in this First Week of Advent 2020.
Katy Carl, DT Editor in Chief, recommended this announcement from James Matthew Wilson. (Carl also recommended all the other links this week except the last, so I’ll skip attributing credit for the rest.)
This is a season of waiting: waiting for the birth of Christ, waiting for a lousy year to drag its long green dragon’s tail into the abyss of the past, and, finally, for the publication of my newest book, The Strangeness of the Good.
One of those waits, at least, is over. I am pleased to announce that Angelico Press has just released The Strangeness of the Good.
Wilson, who is a highly-praised poet, philosopher of poetry, and Villanova professor, has been publishing his work in DT ever since he was an undergraduate fiction writer—before he switched to poetry—so his relationship with DT has deep roots. For one indication of how deep, Quarantine Notebook, a poem cycle that is included in The Strangeness of the Good, was first published in single-poem installments at DT’s “Deep Down Things” blog.
This related announcement is also from James Matthew Wilson:
To launch The Strangeness of the Good, here is a Christian Humanist podcast, wherein Michial Farmer and I discuss the new book, poetry, beauty, Plato and Aristotle, and the ungratefulness of children.”
I’ve heard the podcast, and I found it revelatory. I think anyone who is interested in Wilson’s poetry should hear it. Even though it was a remarkably perceptive and extensive question and answer session, Wilson still has more to say about the quotations that he used to frame the collection and about other matters, which I will explore in an interview with him—to be printed in an upcoming issue of DT.
Yesterday, Katy Carl announced that her article on Shūsaku Endō’s The Samurai is “Up at Genealogies of Modernity today!”
The eponymous samurai was a real historical figure, Catholic convert Rokuemon Hasekura (1571–1622), who was chosen as the lead envoy for the journey.
“The Samurai endorses the complex humanity and essential goodness of both its European and its Japanese protagonist, Velasco and Hasekura, as it reconciles the earthly contradictions between them in the shared fate they meet in their distinctive modes. In life and in death they remain diverse in character and in perception, yet they are united beyond this world in the communion of saints.”
This interview is by Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, of writer Marly Youmans. Youmans’ most recent novel, Charis in the World of Wonders: A Novel Set in Puritan New England, was published earlier this year by Ignatius Press. In an article included in last week’s Friday links, the book was called “2020’s Best-kept Literary Secret” by poet and critic Jane Greer in her CWR review of the novel, stating the story is “broad and deep, sweet and savage, funny and terrifying, and just plain grand.”
Besides the admonition about neither axe-grinding nor messaging in the title of the article, I want to highlight one juicy tidbit from her advice to writers of all types, which is directed at poets— because there are a lot of conversations going around in my Facebook feed about whether poetry is really poetry if it does not have meter or rhyme (and as far the above-mention poet James Matthew Wilson is concerned, the answer is no).
If you wish to be a poet, you should master meter and rhyme—no matter what sort of poems you want to publish. The world is littered with plausible poems that lack bone, muscle, rhythm, swing, and song.”
K. V. Turley at Catholic News Report interviewed writer Michael O’Brian in this 2014 article.
‘As with all Christian art, the writer’s calling is to make visible what is invisible,’ says novelist and iconographer Michael O’Brien, ‘but in such a way that the reader experiences wonder and reverence for Being itself.’”
This article at “Front Porch Republic” by Jesse Russell, addresses the question, “who are the great Christian writers of our time?” Spoiler alert follows:
What has been missing in Christian fiction is an Anglophone writer who speaks the language of the postmillennial era, of the period in Western history in which the great evils are not the Holodomor or Antietam, but rather school shootings and pornography addiction.
“I can think of at least one Christian writer who has established himself as a prolific author of both scholarly material as well as of short stories and poetry (including many poems published within the pages of First Things), and whose writing in all these genres engages the strange combination of listless fatigue and hummingbird hysteria of the digital age: Joshua Hren.”
Everyone is invited to a virtual gala on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, 5:00 PM — PST; 6:00 PM — MST; 7:00 PM — CST; 8:00 PM — EST. The five winners will read their poems and discuss them with contest judge, Maggie Gallagher, Executive Director of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship and of Catholic Arts Today.
Grand Prize: “From Elizabeth, Who was Called Barren” by Ashley Alvarez
“Advent Mass” by Tamara Nicholl-Smith
“The Waiting” by Johanna Caton, O.S.B.
“Genealogy” by Marjorie Maddox
“The Love Song of Our Lady of O” by Roseanne T. Sullivan
This event is FREE, but you must register to attend. A ten-dollar/person donation is appreciated but not required. Click here to register.