• Craft Lecture, Online Feature
    Garth Greenwell

    I’ve always been astonished by how dense art can be, how much information a painting or a poem or a sentence can hold. One of the functions of art is to be ample in this way, to offer a container for the surplus of meaning, of value, that surrounds us, that we ourselves are—the information our workaday means of communication and perception either fail to capture or actively filter out.

    The Conglomerate
    The Sewanee Review

    Disappointment is a dissatisfaction with the present that has us blame the past, but I increasingly believe in the potential for future joy.

    Vievee Francis

    I will gorge
    on this life from sour-tit to last supper,

    until the fields of tomatoes despise me,
    until the cupboard is bare,

    until there is nothing left but dust,
    then, finally, I will bite into that.

    Cherline Bazile

    I wonder: when she pulls my baby hairs into the braid, tucks them beneath a hill of hair, repeats, does she know she hates me, and just how much? Is it finger length? Root length? Or maybe the kind that has no length at all because it never stops growing?

    Roger Reeves

    It is not a coincidence that all over Latin America, from Puerto Rico to Peru, these protests continue. They are lining out to each other, singing to each other. All over the map, the imposed silences of the State are being sung into, are being filled. Are being obliterated.

    Michael Prior

    I’ve never passed
    here, where I was born, or anywhere

    where being feels like being seen.

    Sara Freeman

    But even after we’d hung up, I could not dislodge Bertrand’s question. A jagged crumb at the back of my throat: Did I miss my mother? To miss someone suggests a past shared, a present remembered. I could think only of a half-dozen times Bertrand and I had talked about my mother in the decade of knowing one another.

    Phillip B. Williams

    From the very beginning, Vievee Francis has sung to us throughout her entire oeuvre, and to the best of my abilities I have tried to describe the various ways she has rendered song for us in order that truth, in all its grotesqueness and generosity, may be coupled with beauty, in all of its doubtful confidence and allure.

    Erin Adair-Hodges

    It’s the song your mother lows, cradling her loosed womb,
          knowing too late what she’s made.

    Carl Phillips

    As artists, we have something to say, and because we are saying it, it feels—it is—personal, which makes us vulnerable, which in turn makes us long for the protection that, at first, public approbation feels like, protection ultimately from our own fears and doubts as to our “worthiness,” our “right” to call ourselves an artist, maybe even a good one.

    Sarah Harshbarger

    In the plaza, the fountains have stopped running. There are signs in French and English in front of the mairie indicating that all offices are closed and that all concerns should be directed to phone or email. Under the archways—where tourists usually stand with cameras, trying unsuccessfully to capture it all, the way the architecture frames the liveliness of the square—there is no one now, the curved stone casting uninterrupted shadows on the ground.

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