Reading The Purpose Driven Life, with Schopenhauer

                                                                                                           —December 2012

Really—I don’t know what the meaning or purpose of life is. But it looks exactly as if something were meant by it.
—Carl Jung




The Truth will make us miserable, Rick Warren says. That sounds

Bruce Beasley is the author of eight collections of poems, including his most recent, All Soul Parts Returned (2017) and Theophobia (2012), both from BOA Editions. A native of Macon, Georgia, he lives in Bellingham, Washington, and is a professor of English at Western Washington University.


I miss the grain of Ralph, and the grain

of Ed, and Trixie’s grain, and especially

the grain of Alice, whose pretty, pointed body

would never, ever land on the moon. Alice

was earthbound; Alice was of 

the street, and

Laura Newbern’s Love and the Eye was selected by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 2010 Kore Press First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, the Oxford American, TriQuarterly, and Stand, and in the anthologies Best New Poets and Urban Nature. An associate professor of English and creative writing at Georgia College and State University, Newbern serves as the poetry editor of Arts & Letters. Her other honors include a residency at Yaddo and a Writer’s Award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation.

Shadow Animals


On any afternoon in Stein’s grocery store parking lot in Troy, Montana, a truck—American made, four-wheel drive, dented and dirt-streaked, axles riding high—will pull in and park. A young sawyer will jump from the cab. His beard is trimmed …

Julie Riddle is the craft essay editor for Brevity and the creative nonfiction editor for Rock & Sling at Whitworth University, where she works as senior writer for marketing and development and associate editor of Whitworth Today. Her essay in The Georgia Review is her first publication.

Creative Responses to Worlds Unraveling: The Artist in the 21st Century

In 2007 I published a political novel. I’d never intended to write it. 

Until I was in my late thirties, I kept my political concerns segregated from my creative writing. Of course, they crept in anyway, but always indirectly and …

Ann Pancake’s first novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been (2007), was one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of 2007, won the 2007 Weatherford Prize, and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award and the 2008 Washington State Book Award. Her collection of short stories, Given Ground (2001), won the 2000 Bakeless Prize, and she has also received a Whiting Award, a NEA fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize. Her fiction and essays have appeared in such journals and anthologies as Orion, The Georgia Review, Poets & Writers, and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. She teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

“Ask Me Whether What I Have Done Is My Life”: An Interview with Judith Kitchen

C. J. Bartunek: “The Circus Train” gives a feeling of a whole life distilled into this one elegantly spare essay. In it, you write, “This could be called a pre-posthumous memoir.” Would you tell me about how you came to …

C. J. Bartunek received her PhD in English from the University of Georgia and her BA from the University of Southern California. Her writing has appeared in The Smart SetPacific StandardThe Big Roundtable, and elsewhere. 

The Many Lives of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath, arguably the greatest female poet of the twentieth century, has been the object of much biographical scrutiny, the more so because her suicide at age thirty seems inextricably bound up with her finest work and because, more generally, …

Greg Johnson, whose reviews have appeared regularly in our pages across many years, has published two novels, five collections of short stories, and several volumes of nonfiction. He lives in Atlanta and teaches in the graduate writing program at Kennesaw State University.

The Deer Walking Upside Down

The weather? How do you argue about that? This was nothing about money or alcohol or Clayton, their son-in-law. Or trivia—whether, say, Eugene McCarthy ever really supported Reagan. On this winter day, he’ d maundered aloud about the heat of …

Jerry McGahan (1943–2016), beekeeper and much else, was the author of the story collection The Deer Walking Upside Down (Schaffner Press, 2015) and the novel A Condor Brings the Sun (1996). His stories and essays were published by the Iowa Review, the Antioch Review, the Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and other literary journals. McGahan passed away with his wife, Janet, by his side in Arlee, Montana, on the land he had loved for almost fifty years.

Near and Distant Bears

Suppose you are walking along a path in the woods, and as you round a bend you suddenly encounter a grizzly bear, just a few feet away, lumbering in your direction. How do you react? Before you have time to …

Scott Russell Sanders lives in the hill country of southern Indiana, where he has written more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including A Conservationist Manifesto (Indiana University Press, 2009) and Hunting for Hope (Beacon Press, 1998). His most recent books (also from IU Press) are Stone Country: Then & Now (2017), a documentary narrative made in collaboration with photographer Jeffrey Wolin, and Dancing in Dreamtime (2016), a collection of eco-science-fiction stories. He is currently finishing his portion of Ordinary Wealth, fifty brief tales written in response to photographs by Peter Forbes.


When Maine-based painter John Winship first heard Emily Dickinson’s poem “Presentiments,” he wanted to go back and give that title to every painting he’d ever completed. In a 1998 interview on NPR’s All Things Considered, while discussing the sense …

John Winship taught art at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania for over twenty years and now lives and paints in Maine. He received his BA in fine art from Middlebury College in Vermont and has had solo exhibitions at the Venable-Neslage Galleries in Washington, DC, the F.A.N. Gallery in Philadelphia, the Endicott College Center for the Arts in Beverly, Massachusetts, and elsewhere. His work has also been reviewed in the New York Review of Art and ARTnews, and his paintings have been reproduced in such publications as Harper’s and the Artist’s Magazine.