Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Books

Ask a mortician

Morticians haven't charged too much, they've done too much. With this precisely correct claim, Caitlin Doughty earns her contrarian stripes.

Poetry

We're back

After the fire, houses in the chaparral
start up again like new shoots of poison oak.
The resilience of nature? The power
of habit? The shallows of the human mind?

We keep building on the flood plain,
kicking steps up the avalanche chute,
camping out on the crumbling
lip of the volcano.

Those hollow figures at Pompeii,
crouched in the admission of error,
became the casts for Rodin’s Thinker.
Think about it.

In Korea, there are a hundred different men
who claim to be returned messiahs
(not counting their messiah wives)—
and thousands who erect their faith upon this sand.

And here in the U.S. of A., cutting sagebrush
in my yard, the dry winds parting my lips,
I feel right at home with the rest,
making do, claiming ground.

Books

A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler

Spring books

Anne Tyler's 20th novel is, like her previous 19, about a mildly dysfunctional Baltimore family of loyal yet infuriating people who love one another, but not always helpfully.