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    Poetry Feature: Six Poems

    by Jeff Gundy

    We are pleased to publish for the first time a selection of six poems by Jeff Gundy, author of the award-winning Spoken Among the Trees (University of Akron Press 2007) and four other poetry collections. In these poems the worlds of popular culture—suggested by references to Ronald Reagan, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan—intersect with poetic forms inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke and Georg Trakl to create a meditative collage. The homage to these Austrian poets is perhaps a nod to the fruits of Gundy’s Fulbright Lectureship at the University of Salzburg in 2008. In the final poem, "Biblipgraphical Lament," Gundy plays with the ways in which Stanley Hauerwas's glosses on John Howard Yoder inspire his own meditations.

    Of these poems Gundy says: “I find myself trying to be mindful of so many things at once: the need to reckon somehow the almost unspeakable intersections, griefs and privileges of ordinary American life, to pay attention and homage to the ten thousand things of this world, to honor and to resist. At the same time, the language makes its own demands. As it is read and said, the poem should somehow give pleasure in its sounds, its shapes, its images, even as perhaps it troubles. And all this happens, of course, in the stew-pot of my particular set of history, traditions, commitments and obsessions.”

    The poems are both playful and edgy—not entirely at ease in the world. Gundy nudges his readers to attend to the contradictory images they daily imbibe as members of a media culture. In this way his poems are deeply Anabaptist, searching for wholeness—although preferring honesty to false piety—in the midst of a life permeated with the profane.

    -- A. H.

  • 0 read more Review Essay: P. L. Gaus’s Ohio Amish Mystery Series

    Review Essay: P. L. Gaus’s Ohio Amish Mystery Series

    by Kyle Schlabach

    Blood of the Prodigal (1999), Broken English (2000), Clouds Without Rain (2001), Cast a Blue Shadow (2003), A Prayer for the Night (2006), Separate from the World (2008).

    -- Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.

  • 0 read more “A Whisper of Satin”: The Infant Dress Leitmotif

    “A Whisper of Satin”: The Infant Dress Leitmotif

    by Michelle Thurlow

    Although best-selling inspirational novelist Beverly Lewis is understandably credited with "g[iving] birth to" the lucrative Amish fiction genre in 1997 with the release of her inaugural adult novel The Shunning (Gorski, par. 9), Lewis was not the first author to write about horse-and-buggy Plain folk, nor was she the first to pen romance novels about them.

    As Steven Nolt points out, "The dawning of the twentieth century brought the prospect of new relationships between modernity and a people [the Amish] who stood apart from its promises and goals" (257), as illustrated by the publication of a book ...

  • 10 read more Passing on the Faith: Mennonite Writing for Children

    Passing on the Faith: Mennonite Writing for Children

    by Kathy Meyer Reimer

    Mennonites claim a strong heritage of women writers--in children’s and adolescent literature. In examining the trends of publishing at Herald Press, the book division of the Mennonite Publishing House at Scottdale, Pennsylvania, a number of distinct waves of literature become clear. I will examine the trends from Herald Press, not because it is the definitive press for Mennonite authors or illustrators, but because it has consistently published literature for children over the past 60 years. In each era of publishing, I will suggest some examples. They are not comprehensive, but representative of a specific genre, emphasis or style of writing ...

  • 0 read more Some Things I Think About While Illustrating

    Some Things I Think About While Illustrating

    by Ingrid Hess

    To see Ingrid Hess's colorfully illustrated article about her work, click on the title above.

  • 0 read more On Frosting and Broccoli

    On Frosting and Broccoli

    by Ingrid Hess

    As presented to a meeting of Jesuits at “Search for Meaning,” the 2010 Pacific Northwest Spirituality Book Festival, Feb. 13, 2010. Also at College Community Mennonite Brethren Church, Fresno, April 4.

  • 0 read more Schnee, 1939

    Schnee, 1939

    by Barbara Nickel

    The sky makes him stumble out of the barn. That excuse would make Papa snort. He’d say, “If not the sky something else -- a bucket, a clod of frozen horse manure -- my son would stumble over a fly in his path.” But just out the barn door, Art’s on his knees and can’t take his eyes off the sky, huge and strange with something about to happen. There’s a heap of dark clouds, like waves tossing a battleship that’s shelling enemy ships trying to hide in enemy clouds.

    Shelling the enemy. He should try to erase that picture from ...

  • 1 read more Poetry Feature: Six Poems

    Poetry Feature: Six Poems

    by Sarah Klassen

    CMW is pleased to introduce readers to a group of new poems by award-winning Canadian poet Sarah Klassen, the “featured poet” of this issue. In these six poems Sarah explores the mystical possibilities indwelling in the moments of a life lived with full presence. Natural imagery evokes the prairie landscape of Winnipeg and its surroundings. In “Prairieology” the landscape becomes suffused with spiritual significance—offering, in the spirit of Emily Dickinson, a natural language for the divine that both grounds and replies to theology. “Rising” and “Deep Bay Reflection” suggest the poet’s awareness of the interconnection between all created things, evoking the tension between what we can and cannot see, as well as what we refuse to see. In “After the Fall” the poet is forced to remember her bodily limits as she skis after an accident—aware of the brain’s mad flights of fancy as well as its keen powers of observation. “Bird” invites the reader to meditate on the ways in which we invest birdsong with human longing. “On Poverty” challenges viewers to investigate their attitudes towards human nature. –A.H.

  • 0 read more Five Sarabandes

    Five Sarabandes

    by David Wright

    Poems by David Wright

  • 0 read more  My Small Books of Bach

    My Small Books of Bach

    by David Wright

    "A real diehard, indestructible, irresolvable obsession in a poet is nothing less than a blessing," writes Tony Hoagland. "The poet with an obsession never has to search for subject matter. It is always right there, welling up like an Artesian spring on a piece of property with bad drainage.

    - Tony Hoagland, Real Sofistikashun

    As I type this, music pours through my headphones, a Bach suite for unaccompanied cello, recorded by the great Pablo Casals in the middle of the last century. Hearing Casals play on my iPod, I can’t help but think of the time I heard this same piece ...