Culture Articles

‘What You Have Heard Is True: A memoir of witness and resistance’, by Carolyn Forché

07 May 2020 | by Jonathan Doering

Close-up of the book cover. | Courtesy of Allen Lane.

In 1977, Carolyn Forché was twenty-seven, and had already packed a whole life into those years. She had won the Yale Younger Poets competition, translated poetry by Salvadoran émigré Claribel Alegría, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and begun teaching at a Californian university.

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Entering the Space

30 April 2020 | by Angela Arnold

'Where wind winds itself...' | Samara Doole / Unsplash.

Where the river flows that’s source-less and ocean-less and bubbles its full stops without a single catching sentence.

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Holy Saturday (Psalm 62)

23 April 2020 | by Barbara Mathie

'The to and fro of always something, someplace, somewhere...' | Annie Spratt / Unsplash.

The Altar table stripped, no coverings, bare The Tabernacle silver lined is naked, open The life red of the Sanctuary light extinguished. Pews preach empty, in the silence of the tomb, Heaven sitting shiva, statues covered, The Word, unspoken, Is absent from the World, blood still, corpse cold.

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‘When Christians Were Jews: The first generation’, by Paula Fredriksen

23 April 2020 | by Michael Wright | 2 comments

Close-up of the book cover. | Yale University Press.

Quakers traditionally do not follow the Christian calendar of fasts and festivals. Nevertheless I find myself each year reflecting on how modern scholars seek to explain the events before and after the first Easter.

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‘Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister,’ by Jung Chang

16 April 2020 | by Reg Naulty

Close-up of the book cover. | Jonathan Cape.

Insofar as this book gives a history of China – which it does as background – it reads like a tragedy. At the end of the nineteenth century Cixi, the empress dowager, took steps to modernise the country. Jung Chang describes China’s search for democracy during 1913-28. It had a parliamentary...

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You say you haven’t heard one for years

16 April 2020 | by Carol Rowntree Jones | 1 comment

'...into the sky.' | The Friend.

i Not squeezed your eyes to the sky, to find that black dot, that source of tumble tumble torrent       on an invisible stave, not turned to see the sound of air played as light, spring spiraling, the field where you stand    ...

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09 April 2020 | by Harvey Gillman

'Our hearts beat to its rhythms.' | Louis Maniquet / Unsplash.

This earth is the same earth, is it not, which we traversed with determination, where, in former times, we ventured forth, when travel was permitted, and choice was ours over time and destination? This earth now proclaims a different dominion. It cries out now from the fissures we have torn...

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A prayer-poem for a pandemic

02 April 2020 | by Anon | 1 comment

'Let us choose love.' | Milada Vigerova / Unsplash.

May we who are merely inconvenienced Remember those whose lives are at stake. May we who have no risk factors Remember those most vulnerable.

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26 March 2020 | by Dana Littlepage Smith | 1 comment

'I asked anxiety to dig one hole.' | Nikola Jovanovic / Unsplash.

I asked anxiety to dig one hole. It went to work, until the green sward of my garden was upturned: a mole field runnelled with mud, gorged and pitted.

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‘Dublin Quakers (1650-1900)’, by Richard S Harrison

19 March 2020 | by Moragh Bradshaw | 1 comment

William Edmundson's gravestone. | James Edmundson / Find a Grave.

T his book on the growth of Quakerism in Ireland, specifically Dublin, offers a most interesting account of the spiritual, industrial and enterprising life of Friends there. It is the first study of Dublin Quakers, covering their contacts, growth, business, social, spiritual and philanthropic life. Richard S Harrison is a...

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