Year end book reviews, what makes good sacred art, the conclusion of a symposium on whether poetry has saving news for the human spirit, and an online fiction class given by a much-awarded young writer.
Katy Carl, DT Editor in Chief recommended this.
Anthony Domestico at Commonweal writes:
There are many things I’d prefer to forget about 2020. I know I’ll remember the pleasures of Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.
“Here are some of my other favorite books of the year—books that I didn’t get a chance to write about but that delighted me in one way or another.”
Shawn Tribe, founder of New Liturgical Movement and currently blogger at Liturgical Arts Journal, looks at two new paintings of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict and ponders what makes a work of contemporary representational art suitable for sacred art.
…generally speaking I believe naturalistic, or representational, art can have two forms or manifestations. One is more literally naturalistic or representational, intent on capturing the particular physical features and characteristics of the person or model in question… The second approach, in which I believe we would categorize sacred art, is also representational but by contrast does not so much aim for this type of realism or naturalism as it intends to convey something deeper, something slightly idealized and in a certain sense, something slightly more abstracted. It’s intent is not so much to present an utterly realistic representation of a particular figure or person [sitting before the artist] as it is to additionally represent an idea [or idealized figure] one might say; in a way, one might even say that it precisely avoids being too realistic, too naturalistic or too personal for this reason… I believe it is accurate to say that more representational forms of sacred art do have an iconic quality to them — or should.”
Poet and philosopher of poetry, James Matthew Wilson, long-time DT contributor, writes:
Some of you may have seen my essay “Poetry and the News,” which kicked off a symposium for the Theopolis Institute. Over the last month, five writers responded to my piece and then, today, I was given a chance to make a final reply.
If you are at all interested in the relation of aesthetic form to politics (Ezra Pound, anybody?), the “space” of poetry, that is to say, what it can include and what it can do, or meter and poetic form, please dip into this essay of mine and enjoy.”
In his “Poetry and the News” essay that launched the series, Wilson wrote:
Nothing more aptly expresses the uncertain place of poetry in the modern age than American poet Ezra Pound’s pronouncement, in his ABC of Readings, that “Literature is news that STAYS news.” His old friend, William Carlos Williams, would faintly echo the thought, in “Asphodel, that Greeny Flower,” two decades later, when he wrote:
“‘It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.’”
Katy Carl: “Ohhhh wow. It would be amazing to take this class. I’ve been reading her stories, and they are just so well realized and deeply, intriguingly shaped by the Catholic worldview. Out of reach now, but maybe one day…” Natalie Morrill, DT Fiction Editor had this to add: “ohh… could one justify it…”
It is hard to tell the date and time of the class from the website, but it seems this online class will be offered midday on one of the days during the Glen Workshop 2021 scheduled for July 25–31, 2021.
Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of Night at the Fiestas, which won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. It was named a New York Times Notable Book and a best book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Library Association. Kirstin is the recipient of the John Guare Writer’s Fund Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, and a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor at Princeton. Her novel The Five Wounds is forthcoming from Norton in April 2021.