Month: July 2019

  • Stirring, Terrifying, Inspiring, Troubling—Yeah, That’s America

    Stirring, Terrifying, Inspiring, Troubling—Yeah, That’s America

    The first thing I note about Jill Lepore’s new one-volume history of the United States is how out of style it is. In an age of disintegrating consensus and competing truths, who would dare to attempt a comprehensive narrative of our national story? Fortunately, Jill Lepore would and the result is a book you’ll surely […]

  • Say Goodbye to the Mind-Numbing Meeting

    Say Goodbye to the Mind-Numbing Meeting

    We’ve all been there. The meeting that begins with the same agenda as every past meeting to time immemorial. The gathering that gets hijacked by one overbearing guest. The party that peters out like air going out of a balloon. And yet we’ve also been there when it’s gone, remarkably, right. When some purpose sparks […]

  • There is Still a ‘There’ There: The Atopian Dreams of Suzannah Lessard

    There is Still a ‘There’ There: The Atopian Dreams of Suzannah Lessard

    This review by Heartlands editor Alex Joyner originally appeared in the Eastertide 2019 print edition of the Englewood Review of Books  (now available) and is republished with permission. It’s quaint to live in a place like Parksley. Though the name refers to the original owner from whom the land for the town was bought, one Benjamin Parks, it […]

  • A New Style Guide for Word Lovers: Dreyer’s Droll Diversion

    A New Style Guide for Word Lovers: Dreyer’s Droll Diversion

    It sounds like faint praise to say that a book is diverting. We want our books to be gripping, engrossing, un-put-down-able. Or, if the tome in question is a reference book, we’d prefer that it be reliable, comprehensive, and comprehensible. Sorry. Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style meets none of those […]

  • The Strangeness of Being Here at All: Franz Wright’s Redemption Story

    The Strangeness of Being Here at All: Franz Wright’s Redemption Story

    There are days I wake up in sluggish wonder, newly aware, as a last dream image drifts away, of the marvel of my beloved still beside me in the bed, the fan beating time through the air, and the persistence of this body and mind. Or as the poet Franz Wright would put it in […]

  • So You Want to Write Poetry…

    So You Want to Write Poetry…

    Come for the instruction in how to write poems. Stay for the poetry that flows from Mary Oliver like an undiminished spring. “Poetry is a life-cherishing force. And it requires a vision—a faith, to use an old-fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down […]

  • Can We Talk Here? Recovering Conversation in the Church with C. Christopher Smith

    Can We Talk Here? Recovering Conversation in the Church with C. Christopher Smith

    Every pastor knows the scenario. An issue has arisen. Relationships are frayed. People are more than willing to talk it out with the pastor, but with each other? Not so much. C. Christopher Smith, editor of the Englewood Review of Books, has been an advocate for the spiritual practice of conversation based on the long-running […]