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empathy

Healing Thyself

English is a treasure trove of words, each with a precise meaning. It is also a source of confusion and frustration, since so many of those words have subtle connotations and refuse to stand still.

What Is Found There

Unlike professional wellness culture, humanistic study can be a balm to the soul and giver of durable self-knowledge. But what would this self-knowledge look like in actual clinical practice? What would the hazards be?

Bathers with a Turtle

Three nudes crudely drawn. One crouching, 

back turned, right hand feeding the turtle 

of the painting’s title; another sitting, as if in a chair,

head bowed, eyes downcast; and a central 

<i>Tiger King</i>. Directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin. Netflix, 2020. 8 episodes

The Art of Watching

Early in January, a few days into the New Year, I sat with four students on the ninth floor of a Twenty-Third Street Manhattan building. I have two dominant memories of our week together: The first is of the forbearance with which they withstood my raging head cold; the places they found to look while I filled tissue after tissue, stuffing various pills, sprays, and lozenges into my face, inflicting on them a six-day wrath that should have been mine alone. Grumpy and overmedicated, midweek I told a colleague, because she asked, that I felt like a jungle cat was sitting on my face.

Illustration by Jen Renninger

No End in Sight

March 2, 2020

What happens when immigrant-rights advocates reach a breaking point?

Illustration by Anna Schuleit Haber

Renovation

Water, I learned, was the most abundant element in nature whose only value came from controlled and measured distribution. Our lives invariably revolved around its input and output, and the same rules which governed the natural world were also true for our family’s own ecosystem.

Impossible Bottle. By Claudia Emerson. LSU, 2015. 65p. PB, $17.95.

Ecstatic Sorrow

Claudia Emerson, who died in December 2014, had come to be known as a poet capable of revealing startling discoveries inside quiet, quotidian circumstances. Her poems are set mostly in Southern rural and small-town scenes, moments in ordinary lives that would normally elude anyone else’s attention.