Articles by Nick Ripatrazone

September 29, 2014

God and Gab: The Second Sex by Michael Robbins 1

Michael Robbins is our contemporary poet laureate for beautiful sins of language.

September 11, 2014

Heart of Darkness: On William Giraldi’s Hold the Dark 0

Between the many bullets and arrows, Giraldi is also building an examination of evil. This is a new Catholic fiction, one forged in the smithies of writers who reject belief but retain reverence for religious language.

August 25, 2014

The Longest Silence: On Writing and Fishing 3

Fishing, like writing, is a stab at permanence in a world of waiting.

August 20, 2014

Practical Art: On Teaching the Business of Creative Writing 73

This is the inside joke of creative writing programs in America. We know creative writing doesn’t make money, and yet we continue to graduate talented writers with no business acumen. At best, it is misguided. At worst, it is fraudulent.

July 29, 2014

“Story with a Real Beast and a Little Blood”: on Rose McLarney’s Its Day Being Gone 0

Appalachian literature plays an elegaic refrain. It is a literature of dislocation and transition and survival.

July 18, 2014

The Saddest Poem Ever Written 12

Novels have hurt me. Stories have punctured my skeptical skin. Essays have made me rethink the world. But a melancholic poem shatters me.

June 30, 2014

Mystery and Manners: On Teaching Flannery O’Connor 9

The sheer originality of Flannery O’Connor’s stories shows students how amplifying their surrounding world can make great fiction. Now, 50 years after her death, when she is a staple of syllabi and the very canon that previously excluded her and other women, it is most important to stress fresh approaches to her work within the classroom.

May 27, 2014

55 Thoughts for English Teachers 24

You need to love words. You don’t need to love a certain type of book or a particular writer, but you need to love letters and phrases and the possibilities of language. You will spend most of your days dealing with words, and students can sense if words do not bring you joy.

May 14, 2014

Reach the Rafters: On Literary Sentiment 5

If sentimentality is a sin, it is only because feeling can be so beautiful. One moment of sentiment in literature is worth a thousand failures.

April 22, 2014

Sacrament of Fiction: On Becoming a Writer and Not a Priest 7

Good fiction can be a form of good works. As a Catholic, I recognize that life is a story of continuous revision, of failure and unexpected grace, and of dogged hope. I am comfortable with the white space of ambiguity and mystery. I have faith, not certainty.