Post #4 – The Unique Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz-Weber, one of the featured writes in the Lenoir-Rhyne Visiting Writer Series, is drastically different from any pastor I’ve ever seen or listened to. I really liked how open she was about talking about her beliefs and how she perceives the ​word of God. One thing she talked about that really grabbed my attention was when she responded to the saying, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” She said gay people are always the objects and not the subjects. I never thought of it in this way. I admire her for accepting gays as they are instead of turning them away like some churches do. I believe we should love one another and by turning them away we aren’t loving them or helping them as we should. No one wins in that situation. By accepting gays into our churches we can help them know God instead of rejecting them and pushing them away. I agree with Bolz-Weber in that we shouldn’t think of gays as “them” but rather think of them as “us” because lets face it, we’re all in this big scary world together and we need each other. Originally my views were that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But when Bolz-Weber made this point I had to reconsider my views. We’re all different and just because someone loves a person of their own sex doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love them or help them to know God. She also mentioned that no matter what “category” we come from we all need that Christian community we can fall back on. I couldn’t agree with this more.

Another point she made that I liked was the idea of repentance. I can relate to her in that it confronts me all the time. The story that she told of her repentance of a man who always carried a concealed weapon really helped me think about what repentance actually is. Another thing she touched on was how we never end up in a place where were not in need of grace. We always need the grace of God because we sin constantly. I believe God allows us to sin so we can see just how much we need His grace. If we weren’t sinners then we wouldn’t seek the grace of God which isn’t what He wants. Overall, I really just liked the fact that Nadia Bolz-Weber is herself and doesn’t care about what others think of her. I liked how she responded when someone asked her about why she cusses even though the Bible tells us not to. She said, “People shouldn’t pretend to be someone they’re not.” I totally agree that we should be ourselves because God loves us for the true person we are. Her personality and sense of humor was awesome and her presentation really spoke to me in a way that no previous pastor has. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to go and see her and I would strongly recommend others to listen to what she has to say because she makes some valid points worth thinking about.


Post #3 – Paul Muldoon’s Poem “Hedgehog”

Today my classmates and I had the chance to study a poem entitled “Hedgehog”, written by one of the authors featured in the Lenoir-Rhyne Visiting Writers Series, Paul Muldoon. One thing that caught my eye about this poem is how different it is from other poems I’ve read. I like the structure Muldoon uses which sets it apart from the usual rhyming of every other line.

Muldoon’s poem provides us with an interesting view of the hedgehog. I like the simile he uses in the first stanza that reads, “The snail moves like a Hovercraft, held up by a Rubber cushion of itself, Sharing its secret With the hedgehog.” I’ve never thought about how a snail and a hovercraft so closely resemble one another, as does a snail and a hedgehog. This line also gives us an example of a caesura, a pause that occurs within the line, which we see after the word ‘Hovercraft.’ One of my favorite lines Muldoon writes is in the last stanza, it says, “We forget the god under this crown of thorns.” Not only is Muldoon using a metaphor here, he’s also using imagery, giving the hedgehog a Christ-like figure. Muldoon makes his poem memorable by giving a thoughtful look into the shy nature of the hedgehog.

Muldoon’s work proved useful to me by providing me with a different perspective on how to compose a poem. I like how he shows that a poem doesn’t have to rhyme in order to be a poem.

For more on Paul Muldoon, visit his website:


Post #2-Prelude to Katherine Howe’s Conversion

Today my classmates and I had the chance to read the prelude to Katherine Howe’s novel Conversion (2014). Katherine Howe is one of the writers featured in this years Lenoir-Rhyne Visiting Writers Series. Although I did not get the chance to go to Howe’s presentation, I can tell by her prelude: “Salem Village, Massachusetts, May 30, 1706” that this work is a piece of historical fiction.

Howe’s prelude opens with an anxious girl named Ann who is waiting to speak to the Reverend Green. We can infer by the sentence, “Though it’s common knowledge how many Putnam’s I raised myself” that Ann’s full name is Ann Putnam, whom was involved in the Salem Witch Trials. As Ann is nervously waiting to talk to the Reverend, she tells us, “I feel my heart pressing against my ribs, and the top of my head opening, as if my soul were being ripped from my body by the hair.” This extreme exaggeration allows us to feel the intensity and overwhelming dread Ann feels as she is about to make her confession.

Howe’s writing proved useful to me in that she easily went from present tense to shifting to recent past. I like the way she gives us insight into what Ann is thinking as the scene unfolds. This will help me in my future writing in that I can reflect back on this piece for assistance on first person narrative writing. This prelude makes me want to read the novel Conversion because the Salem Witch Trials are so interesting to read about.

For more on Katherine Howe, visit her web page: or visit the L-R Visiting Writer Series Page:


Blog Post #1 on Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones

Upon the appearance of Jesmyn Ward, one of the authors featured in the Lenoir-Rhyne Visiting Writers Series, my classmates and I read an excerpt from Ward’s novel Salvage the Bones (2011). The excerpt opens with a pit bull named China who is birthing puppies. Although China is the main focus, she can not compare to the labor that the mother of the narrator, Eschs, dealt with.

As the narrator describes the dramatic birth of her brother, she uses figurative language to visually paint an image. She says, “Junior came out purple and blue as a hydrangea: Mama’s last flower.” By using this simile, we are able to visualize what Junior looked like coming out of the womb, which adds rich detail to the text. This also allows us to know that Junior was Mama’s last child. Although Ward doesn’t come out and directly say this, we can infer by her words that is what she meant. Another simile I liked was used to describe how Skeetah slept at night with China. Eschs says, “He curled around China like a fingernail around flesh.” This allows the reader to have an imagination when thinking about how Skeetah curled up to China.

Ward’s use of language is helpful to me as a writer because I can easily read her work and it is interesting with all the detail she provides. I can reflect on her work in the future on how to use figurative language effectively.

For more on Jesmyn Ward, visit her blog page: