ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS)—I’m typing as I watch poet Jacqueline Osherow, a Jewish writer, talk about the sweeping poem she just read to fifty-plus people watching on Zoom. Her poem Santo Spirito begins with a visitation and birds and ends with “yes to grace, yes to vision/but not yet, not quite yet.”
The poem is found in Image Journal’s newest publication: Issue No. 104. Image Journal was established in 1989 as a conduit for art, faith, and mystery. It’s website states that Image seeks to “demonstrate the continued vitality and diversity of contemporary art and literature that engage with the religious traditions of western culture. Now one of the leading literary journals published in English, it is read all over the world—and forms the nexus of a warm and active community.”
I can give witness to the last sentence. People from Italy and all over the United States tuned in to hear Osherow read. Some were following along in the journal as Osherow recites; others sat in rapt attention. Folks like me were listening but snapping photos as well (hey, a journalist needs proof!)
Meaghan Ritchey, director of communications, provides a short introduction to the event. And Shane McCrae, poetry editor, lets us know Jacqueline Osherow is one of his favorite poets and it “pleases him to have published the piece.”
Osherow begins. Though a long poem, its free verse and melding of differing worldviews, Jewish and Christian, is a thing of beauty. The reading is accompanied by slides, highlighting images Osherow touches upon in her poem.
Osherow hovers, sings with verse, and alludes to artists, chapels, and an unending search for God. All read from—what appears to be—a dining room or living room. It’s a fantastic work set in a familial background.
At the conclusion of her recitation, Osherow fields a couple of questions and states, “I should be cooking; it is, after all, Passover.”
More Live Events
Holiday aside, one should ensure not to pass over the other live events featured via Image Journal.
Here’s a couple more happening this month:
April 15th, 4 PM EST. Join culture editor, Nick Ripatrazone, as he converses with writer Paul Lisicky. Together, they discuss Lisicky’s essay “Exposure,” on becoming a church musician.
April 17th, 8 PM EST. Kirstin Valdez Quade will be in conversation with photographer S. Billie Mandle. Mandle’s photographs of church confessionals are as stunning as they are secretive.
Image notes: “While these events are free, they do require a very easy registration.” For more information, go to the website, found here: https://imagejournal.org/
Here’s an article on recommended books to read during the COVID crises: Theo-Poetics: Beauty in the Midst of Brutality.