Bookmarks | How Racism Speaks

Claudia Rankine’s 'Citizen' and Jeffery Renard Allen’s 'Song of the Shank' both take up the issue of race in America in jagged and beautiful poetry and prose.

The Wisdom of the Beguines

Swan’s book does a good job of explaining both the beguines’ spiritual practices in the context of their own times and how their continuing legacy affects us today.

Commonweal Interviews

Featuring the best of our interviews—including Woody Allen, Jorge Luis Borges, Mary Gordon, (Sister) Elizabeth McAlister, Christian Wiman, and Mario Cuomo...

Harper Lee Leaves the Club

Even if her new novel gives us pleasure, shouldn't we be able to remember Harper Lee as a member of one of the most unusual groupings in literary history?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Anne Enright's new novel suggests something simple—family, for good or ill, keeps forming us even when we try to escape it—but her prose constantly surprises.

An Unlikely Union

Paul Moses's history of Irish-Italian relations in 19th century New York delves into the causes for "race war" between the immigrant groups and how they overcame it.

'James Merrill: Life and Art'

Langdon Hammer's biography of poet and writer James Merrill is "wholly definitive" in scope, and threaded throughout with Merrill’s brilliant, always enlivening wit.

Runyon's Way

If you ask me, being a writer is a little like falling in love. No matter how uncomplicated it seems at the start, it is always complicated. The trick is to persist.

An Interview with Anne Enright

Ireland's fiction laureate talks about sex and death in Ireland; Pope John Paul II's 1979 visit to the country; Kafka and kids; and her new novel, 'The Green Road.'

Our Kids

The pattern of income inequality is more than a social problem, Robert Putnam says; it's a social tragedy, most devastating in the lives of poor American children.

The Age of the Crisis of Man

Many modern American thinkers have asked, often and with anxiety, "What is man?" In his latest book, Mark Greif thinks we've outgrown this—and it's a good thing.

'One Moment of Reality'

During the last months of her life, Katherine Mansfield conceived of a different kind of writing—“stories that I would not be ashamed to show to God.”
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