The Ark in Newark


In a fine essay that appeared in the December 2013 issue of First Things, poet and critic Dana Gioia lamented the declension in Catholic literature since the mid-twentieth century, and the depressing homogeneity of contemporary American writing in general.  “To visualize the American Catholic arts today,” he wrote, “don’t imagine Florence or Rome.  Think Newark, New Jersey.”[1]  And thinking Newark conjures up visions of rundown apartment buildings and rattling commuter trains.

But Newark conceals a surprise or two up its well-worn sleeve. Continue reading