Poetry. Benedictine Spirituality. Love.

Susan Thurston's "Sister of Grendel": a cultural critique of the epic hero

By Tracy Rittmueller | August 1, 2017

“And I have at last accounted for this last part of my story.” Beowulf’s voice surrounds me, and his image again appears whole before me. Beowulf the warrior reaches out his hand as if to touch me. I extend mine toward him. “Which causes more pain, I wonder. The words unsaid or the words not said well enough?” Susan Thurston, Sister of Grendel A re-imagining of the Beowulf epic Early 1980’s: the Dynasty women, the Dallas woman, and Princess Diana were wearing shoulder pads and feathered hair. Our radios blared Blondie’s Call Me, or Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust. …

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Tracy Lee Karner

On Blurring Genres and Other Divides

By Tracy Rittmueller | July 13, 2017

“Memoirs are just one form of word delivery. It’s all inquiry, expression, a search to connect. To honestly recognize our mortal selves in others.” Marc Nieson (Schoolhouse) A few weeks ago I thought Steven Petite was spot-on in explaining that the distinction between genre and literary fiction is based on the kind of experience the reader is seeking. If a novel’s purpose is for entertainment/escape — it’s genre fiction. If its purpose is, as Marc Nieson phrased it, to help us “honestly recognize our mortal selves in others”– it’s literary fiction. In the comments section of my last post, Pamela S. Wight …

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Tracy Lee Karner

Who does and does not read literary fiction?

By Tracy Rittmueller | June 29, 2017

In essence, the best Genre Fiction contains great writing, with the goal of telling a captivating story to escape from reality. Literary Fiction is comprised of the heart and soul of a writer’s being, and is experienced as an emotional journey through the symphony of words, leading to a stronger grasp of the universe and of ourselves. Steven Petite, Huff Post A survey by the National Endowment for the Arts reports less than 50% of Americans have read at least one novel, play or poem within the past 12 months. So, American readers of fiction are a minority. And according …

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Tracy Seeley on choosing to love where we live

By Tracy Rittmueller | May 4, 2017

“Recovering my fluency in Kansas things, I talked recipes, quilts, and weather with some people, books and poetry with others. I met populists and democrats, poets and farmers, Lutherans and agnostics, and a lot of people who not only loved where they lived but had chosen it.” Tracy Seeley How to be at home “How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it,” G. K. Chesterton observed in his autobiography Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith, (first published in 1908) in which he addresses the problem, “How can we contrive to be at once astonished …

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New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alice B. Fogel on How to Explore Poetry's Strange Terrain

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 2, 2017

“Language as a tool to manipulate both mind and heart…snapshot of the human condition; of our mortality reflected in nature; the staying of time.” Alice B. Fogel Why poetry matters “Poetry will bring you significant new interactions with the world around you, with ideas and sensations, with yourself and others,” poet Alice B. Fogel wrote in Strange Terrain:A Poetry Handbook for the Reluctant Reader  (Hobblebush Books, 2009), “–not to mention that it will literally expand your mind. According to a study published in New Scientist, billions of neurons per millisecond light up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve whenever we read poetry.” Fogel …

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Marilynne Robinson on The Givenness of Things and Democracy

By Tracy Rittmueller | March 4, 2017

Did you ever try to write a poem attempting to capture a mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart encounter, sitting up half the night conversing with a brilliant person / kindred spirit, your heart bursting with a sensation of music, moonlight and the mystery of existence all mingled together? Don’t bother; it’s impossible to put into words. I’ve recently been savoring essays from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson‘s 2015 collection, The Giveness of Things. I’d like to share my feelings about this book with you. I attempted to put my sentiments into an essay, but instead of communicating the moonlit, musical, mystery of existence welling up in my heart, I came off …

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Hello world, I'm back; I've changed.

By Tracy Rittmueller | February 4, 2017

It’s been 16 months –almost the duration of two full-term-pregnancies–since I left the blogosphere. It’s been an Beyond the Looking Glass wild kind of adventure. Please forgive my mysterious non-disclosure about the details behind my disappearance. I’m keeping them quiet for 2 reasons: It’s too freshly painful to recount sensibly and sensitively–memoir needs a lens of distance to achieve objectivity; And more importantly; it isn’t entirely my own story to tell. I don’t want to infringe on the personal privacy of those who have accompanied me on this journey. Most importantly:  that story isn’t what this blog is about. In the post I wrote before I left, I predicted I would …

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Farewell Dear Friends, I Now Cross the Threshold into a New Adventure

By Tracy Rittmueller | October 20, 2015

I’ve made the decision to cast myself in the role of a hero, to cross the threshold into a new adventure.

How to travel the world through books and food: I went to Tibet with Sabriye Tenberken

By Tracy Rittmueller | October 12, 2015

Have you read a book that compelled you food to sample the food described, or tasted a new cuisine to enrich your understanding of a story? I went to Tibet with Sabriye Tenberken…

Perfect Peach Cobbler, for 2, for 6 or for 12

By Tracy Rittmueller | August 24, 2015

Is there anything better than warm peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream?