Review | Anne Champion’s The Good Girl Is Always A Ghost

by Anna Sandy-Elrod Anne Champion’s The Good Girl is Always a Ghost inhabits, identifies, praises, and laments the multifaceted, complex nature of womanhood. Champion writes odes to women—Sandra Bland, Amy Winehouse, Billie Holliday—and poems in their personas—Indira Ghandi, Bettie Page, Eva Perón—in a way that devastates, humbles, and breathes life into women across history, across…

Review | Jehanne Dubrow’s Dots & Dashes

by Cecilia Savala In Dots & Dashes, Winner of the 2016 Crab Orchard Review Series in Poetry Open Competition Award, Jehanne Dubrow speaks to other military families in the voice of academia and to academics in the voice of a Navy wife. Her poems, written in strict form like military rules, mirror the posture of…

nonsermon #8: my soul

by Ben Lewellyn-Taylor A few months ago, I bought some flowers for my wife. She likes Queen Anne’s Lace, Anne being her grandmother’s name and their shared favorite flower, but the florist had none, so I settled for a mixture of orange and white flowers, the names of which I have since forgotten. In the…

Creating Constellations: On Mark Edmundson’s Why Write?

by Geoff Watkinson I was interviewing for a part-time editor position at a small newspaper the other day when, about 20 minutes in, the publisher asked, “Why write? Why do you do it?” Immediately, I said, “Obsession. I find things I’m curious about and I get obsessed.” That question–“why do you write?”–is something I’ve asked…

nonsermon #7: my church

by Ben Lewellyn-Taylor It’s true what they say, though acknowledging this doesn’t make it easier to accept: sometimes you can’t go home. I was exiting a toxic relationship, searching for a place within my friendships, and for the first time in my life wondering who I was, worrying it wasn’t who I believed myself to…

nonsermon #6: my ghosts

by Ben Lewellyn-Taylor I’ve long been drawn to the idea of ghosts. At first, I was fascinated by the ghost as symbol: what it means to have something hanging over your head or within your psyche. How you are haunted by what you do and don’t do, by what happens to you. Something from our…

nonsermon #5: my prayers

by Ben Lewellyn-Taylor I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer: what it does, how different people practice it, if it works. Mostly, I’d like to know why it worked for me for so many years, then it didn’t. I cannot place the moment it happened, but over time, when I bowed my head to pray,…

nonsermon #4: my unbelief

by Ben Lewellyn-Taylor Although these nonsermons are decidedly against preaching, I am still drawn to a particular Gospel narrative that speaks to me even now. The story of Matthew 9 states that when a man asks Jesus to rid his son of a bad spirit, Jesus tells him that all things are possible for those…

nonsermon #3: my meanings

by Ben Lewellyn-Taylor For most of my life, Christianity defined my experiences of meaning-making in this world. I was raised in the church, came to my own beliefs in high school and college, and shaped my understanding of the world around mine and others’ interpretations of the Bible. When I began to understand that my worldview was…

The Creative Life is an Amplified Life: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

by Geoff Watkinson In the opening pages of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, she asks the following question about creative living: “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” If someone had asked me that question a few years ago, I would have felt incredibly uncomfortable, not believed I…