As I leant against the wall the University indeed seemed a sanctuary in which are preserved rare types which would soon be obsolete if left to fight for existence on the pavement of the Strand.
[Virginia Woolf]

Welcome to my online home.

I’m a writer, painter, teacher, editor, and translator. My most recent writing training was in the MFA program at Cornell; long before that, there was Mr. Gillespie’s senior English class. For samples of poems and essays, see the Words page.

My most recent paintings are from a show in Portland, Oregon (“Toward Beauty”; see the Art page). I started drawing when my mother first refused to draw the horses I wanted to color, and had me draw my own; later, she found a Hungarian illustrator to teach me. Frau Scholz taught me, by fiery repetition, that “drawing is seeing.”

Geographically, home is partly Portland, Oregon, and partly Gomaringen, near Tübingen, in southern Germany, where my father was earning a doctorate in theology. Right now I am following his footsteps: after a master’s thesis on theology and beauty, I’m partway through doctoral work in Religion (still at Duke) and hope to write about the French philosopher-activist Simone Weil and the German printmaker and sculptor Käthe Kollwitz, who saw the ethical and the aesthetic as deeply connected, and understood beauty as an ethically ordering principle in their daily lives.

I’ve explored the connection between beauty and God in short meditative pieces, read near the beginning of worship services at Imago Dei, in Portland. Some samples of these are on the Words page under “Liturgical.”

This website was built by Tom George, whose work and creative generosity I cannot recommend highly enough. His online home is spentboon.com.

The process of helping to design the website has made my life flash awake to me. I hope that in these pages you will find moments of respite and awakeness of your own. (And that you stumble on some of the treasures Tom has hidden in the details.)

I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email.