Tag: review

when we were on fire: a review

16th October

{ addie zierman, friend of ANTLER and memoirist, releases her book “when we were on fire” this week! here’s a brief review by micha boyett. if you like what you see here, go ahead and let the world know. then head over to addie’s synchroblog and tell your own story! order the book here… }


Addie Zierman’s memoir begins in front of her high school, in tenth grade. Her mom drops her off at the flagpole for “See You At the Pole,” a phenomenon experienced by many of us who grew up evangelical in the nineties. Once a year, Christian teenagers were challenged to meet at the flagpole before school, pray for their fellow classmates, and risk their high school status for the sake of Christ.

Addie approaches the empty flagpole, her violin case dangling in her hand, and stands before it … Read More »

desiring the kingdom: the musical

26th June

{ in this playful meditation, heather goodman explores liturgy, love, parenting, and purpose—grappling to make sense of the rhythms of a life lived in faith. }


James K.A. Smith wrote his book, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship Worldview, and Cultural Formation, for fellow professors, students, and, upon further reflection, for pastors. I am none of the above in the traditional sense.

I read this book as a member of a church plant considering the shape of our worship and discipleship, but I found myself conversing with this book more as a mother and an artist.

Smith argues, in essence, that we need to move beyond knowledge to wisdom and that we do so primarily through worship. In short, this book considers how liturgy—meaning how we worship—forms “a certain kind of people whose hearts and passions and desires are aimed at the kingdom of God” … Read More »

On Robert Herrick

9th February

{Poet, Paul Willis reflects on To Blossoms by Robert Herrick}

To Blossoms

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
Why do ye fall so fast?
Your date is not so past
But you may stay yet here a while,
To blush and gently smile,
And go at last.

What, were ye born to be
An hour or half’s delight,
And so to bid good-night?
‘Twas pity nature brought ye forth
Merely to show your worth,
And lose you quite.

But you are lovely leaves, where we
May read how soon things have
Their end, though ne’er so brave;
And after they have shown their pride,
Like you a while, they glide
Into the grave.

—Robert Herrick (1591-1674)


Robert Herrick may not be as spiritually sincere a poet as George Herbert, but he awakens me to the beauty and pathos of nature as few other writers do.  For the wistful spirit of carpe diem, he is unsurpassable.  “To Blossoms” is one of his many … Read More »

The Mountain Finds All Climbers: On John Leax’s “Recluse Freedom”

24th October

{in this piece, writer Daniel Bowman and students Hannah Hanover and Robbie Maakested discuss Recluse Freedom, a new book of poetry by John Leax.}

When Antler asked me if I’d review Jack Leax’s new book of poems, Recluse Freedom, I had mixed feelings. I’d written about Leax’s work before, having recently published a two-part career-spanning interview with him here. I wasn’t sure I’d have much to discover that I hadn’t already explored. And yet I couldn’t pass up the chance to write about the new book, which I’d read in manuscript form and loved for many reasons.

First, Recluse Freedom is the perfect follow-up to 2005’s Tabloid News, a book in which Leax dramatically abandoned the earnest first-person poetic persona that had become barely distinguishable from his own voice. In doing so, he broke a contract with his readers—a move that both … Read More »

Casual Miracles

27th September

A review of Pruning Burning Bushes, by Sarah M. Wells. Wipf & Stock, 2012.

In this volume Sarah Wells joins the ranks of lyric poets committed to documenting the pulse of the spiritual within the ordinary. The challenge for any poet working in this mode is to distinguish her voice from the many others writing in a similar form, to transform the “formula” of event/reflection into something luminous, something that makes the reader pause a moment. At her best, Wells demonstrates that often the best way to do this is to be as specific and particular as possible.

The poet in this mode, as the Romantics taught, is not necessarily the one who has extraordinary experiences but the one who is awake to all experience and turns to language to give that experience form, definition, name. The poet notices what Wells calls … Read More »

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{an interview with poet matthew lippman upon the release of his third collection of poetry, AMERICAN CHEW, which won the burnside review book prize in 2013}

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Books are the mirrors of the soul. –Virginia Woolf

In Christian writing, it seems required to inject a “deeper meaning.” Humans were designed to search...