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Carnal Beauties: The Art of Allison Luce

By Linda Stratford Essay

CERAMICIST ALLISON LUCE makes biomorphic portraits that seem almost excessively beautiful. Each piece revels in its physicality, its undeniable materiality, in its earthy substance—clay—and organic forms. Her four-part Serpent Tree series serves as an apt introduction to her work. In Primoris Ortus, for example, assemblages of swelling, vegetative curves stand alongside works suggestive of eroded rock…

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Allison Funk

One of the most valuable gifts a poet can give us is to make large things small. Most of us look to great ideas, classic religious and literary texts, and heroic figures from history and art for meaning and guidance, but so often these things get lost in the clouds. Enter the poet, who can…

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Allison Grace Myers

Fiction writer and essayist Allison Grace Myers has suffered her whole life from a condition called anosmia—the lack of a sense of smell. Given how intertwined smell is with emotion and memory, is it any wonder that coming to understand her condition prompted her to ask questions not only about perception but also language, her…

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Allison Luce

Ceramics is, quite literally, an earthy medium. Clay, that humblest of materials, is dug from the earth, pushed and pulled with human hands, then tempered with fire. Like Adam and Eve in the Genesis story, ceramic works are formed from the stuff of earth into something beautiful. In the hands of sculptor Allison Luce, clay…

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The Love that Calls Us

By Allison Backous TroyNovember 14, 2011

In college, I encountered some lines from Gregory Wolfe about the vocation of the artist. As someone who had been carrying the desire to write, and the desire to make this writing my life work, the words were perfect. “Vocation,” Greg wrote, “is a mysterious thing. It seems to come to us both from without—as a call…

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Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird and Me

By Allison Backous TroyAugust 15, 2018

But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —Paul Lawrence Dunbar, “Sympathy” I first read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings when I was thirteen. I discovered the book through an interview with Fiona Apple, one of the many female singer-songwriters whose mournful lyrics poured through my boom box speakers while…

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Maid of Honor

By Allison Backous TroyMarch 1, 2012

So knowing, what is known? …that some are born and some are brought to the glory of this world. —Lucille Clifton, “Far Memory” This weekend, my younger sister is taking a train to Grand Rapids. She is coming to help me with details: to try on shoes and seal envelopes, to shake out the ivory…

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In the Kitchen

By Allison Backous TroyDecember 5, 2011

My mother lives in a little yellow house on John Street in Whiting, Indiana, where the Chicago skyline looms across the northern edge of town, where British Petroleum’s refining towers, which flank the town’s southern edge, burn both night and day, their white eyes flaming through the rain that has made me late for my…

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Pride and Progress

By Allison Backous TroyOctober 21, 2011

My family moved to Sauk Village when I was eight years old. The town rode the border between Illinois and Indiana, an hour south of Chicago; its town motto was Pride and Progress, stamped on a blue concrete sign flanking the intersection of Sauk Trail and 394, the westernmost edge of town. We didn’t know…

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A Heart in Two Places

By Allison Backous TroySeptember 24, 2011

The grid is the plan above the earth. It is a compass of possibilities. —D.J. Waldie, Holy Land During the time I spent completing my MFA, I worked for months on a single essay about the south suburbs of Chicago, where I spent my youth and young adulthood. I had just moved to Michigan, and…

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