Articles by Nick Ripatrazone

July 14, 2015

Chris Christie: New Jersey’s Chimera 4

Chris Christie is the prototypical politician. His every move and utterance is finely calibrated. His outbursts — telling a Hurricane Sandy activist to “sit down and shut up” or calling a former Navy SEAL an “idiot” — are not the slip-ups of an amateur; they are the myth-making of an intelligent, ambitious man.

June 25, 2015

Ancient Arts: On Independent Catholic Literature and Edward Mullany’s ‘The Three Sunrises’ 4

In the present literary moment, earnest religious belief is a subversive, counter-cultural move. God is not absent, but God seems more ironic metaphor than serious matter.

June 2, 2015

Lines of Light and Dark: On Mowing and Writing 4

The weekly ritual of mowing, of men and women walking their property like mechanical monks, is fodder for literature.

May 14, 2015

Breakfast: A Love Story 3

Literature and breakfast are both slow arts. Early morning arts that unfold while the world is still groggy and optimistic.

May 5, 2015

Before You Start: Introductions, Forewords, and Prefaces 2

A preface is an ars poetica for a book, for a literary life. A preface often feels like the writer sitting across the table from the reader, and saying, listen, now I am going to tell you the truth.

April 9, 2015

So Many Hills: Writing as Training 3

The constant desire to be a faster, better runner has helped me channel competition as a writer without being sidelined by it. My hunger is different than ambition. I know that I am ultimately only racing against myself.

April 3, 2015

Difficult, Dated, Frustrating, Prophetic: Teaching Thomas Pynchon 15

The movement toward skills-based education in the humanities has also created an effort-return mentality: the expectation that a text can, or should, be distilled into a single sentence. Don’t we want students who know how to handle messes?

March 24, 2015

Praise the Colophon: Twenty Notes on Type 3

I call for the return of colophons. Colophons can send us back into books for another level of reading. If we love books, that second reading might be ecstatic in the same way good writing can lift us.

March 11, 2015

When Students Workshop Their Teacher 2

I recognize that some teachers will hesitate to cede power to their students in this manner. But if I am willing to let a classroom of teenagers read, edit, and critique my work, then undergraduate and graduate instructors might consider it.

February 25, 2015

Bugged and Bruised: On Jason Ockert’s ‘Wasp Box’ 1

Ockert reveals how sometimes evil arrives not with a bang or a whimper, but with the calming buzz of the inevitable.