An unusual hermaphrodite reproductive trait in the Antarctic brooding bivalve Lissarca miliaris (Philobryidae) from the Scotia Sea, Southern Ocean

first_imgThe Antarctic marine environment is extreme in its low temperatures and short periods of primary productivity. Invertebrates must therefore adapt to maximise reproductive output where low temperature and limited food slow larval development. Brooding is a common reproductive trait in Antarctic marine bivalves; larval development occurs within the mantle cavity, and larvae are released as fully developed young. Lissarca miliaris is a small, short-lived, shallow-water brooding bivalve of circum-Antarctic distribution and found most abundant in the sub-Antarctic Magellan Region and islands of the Scotia Arc. Here, an unusual hermaphrodite reproductive trait is described for L. miliaris from King George Island (62°14′S, 58°38′W) and Signy Island (60°42′S, 45°36′W), Antarctica, using histological and dissection techniques. Specimens demonstrate simultaneous and sequential hermaphrodite traits; male and female gonads develop simultaneously, but the production of oocytes is reduced while testes are ripe. Functional females are more abundant in specimens above 3 mm shell length, although male reproductive tissue persists and functional males are found in all size classes. The number of previtellogenic oocytes produced by far exceeds the number of oocytes extruded and brooded, which may indicate an ancestral link to a planktotrophic past. Hermaphroditism in L. miliaris maximises reproductive efficiency in a short-lived species, in which the female’s capacity to brood its young is limited, and demonstrates a specialised adaptation to a cold stenothermal and food-limited environment prevailing in the Southern Ocean.last_img read more

Maintenance

first_imgPlanning, Organizing, and Accountability Maintain uniforms and personal appearance Adhere strictly to safety standards and practicesUtilize all available skills to find, troubleshoot, and repairissues that would otherwise be detrimental to University ownedproperty Maintain all tools and equipment Welcome to Career Opportunities at Lindenwood University.PLEASE READ: For all applications, please include your resumeand cover letter. You may skip the “Quick Apply” pageby simply clicking “Next” at the bottom of the page. Whenyou arrive at the “Experience” page, you may upload alldesired documents using the upload box labeled “Resume/CV.”This is the appropriate box to upload all documents. If youare a current or prospective student applying for a studentemployee position, please use your student email address in theemail field on the application.Job title: MaintenanceDepartment: OperationsEvaluation group: StaffFLSA status: Non-exemptLocation: St. Charles, MOReports to: Assistant Director, FacilitiesJob SummaryThe Maintenance Technician I is responsible for performing lightand heavy duty maintenance duties as directed.Essential Job Functions and Performance IndicatorsThe intent of this job description is to provide a representativeand level of the types of duties and responsibilities that will berequired of positions given this title and shall not be construedas a declaration of the total of the specific duties andresponsibilities of any particular position. Employees may bedirected to perform job-related tasks other than those specificallypresented in this description.Job Responsibilities Service Orientation Knowledge, Skills and Abilities – May be representative, butnot all-inclusive, of those knowledge, skills and abilitiescommonly associated with this position. Support the Mission of the University Collaborate with others when necessary to accomplish assignedtasksCommunicate additional needs to managementTake direction from supervisors without complaintMaintain radio communication with management and staff at alltimes Initiative, Problem-Solving, and Decision Making Must be able to traverse the campus in all weather conditionsand work in extreme temperatures.Position requires the ability to stand, squat, reach and liftup to 50 pounds.Must be able to stand and walk continuously through shift.Must be able to climb stairs and ladders.Must be able to report to work during emergencies, unlessotherwise notified.Regular attendance is a necessary and essential function.Must be able to report to campus within one hour when oncall. Communication, Collaboration, and Teamworkcenter_img Job may require other duties as assignedRequired Qualifications – Required qualifications toeffectively perform the job. An equivalent combination ofeducation, training and experience will be considered. (Additionalrequirements may be designated by position.) Maintain buildings and facilitiesPerform periodic maintenance as directedMaintain and repair residential electrical and plumbingsystemsPerform preventive maintenance on equipment including hvacsystems Work Environment – Environmental or atmospheric conditionscommonly associated with the performance of the functions of thisjob. High School diploma or equivalent is preferredMust have a valid driver’s licenseMust have 2 or more years’ experience in maintenance orconstruction related fields, including a considerable knowledge ofcommon practices, tools, equipment, and materials used Must have good interpersonal and communication skills.Must be able to execute multiple tasks according tospecifications.Must have strong professional integrity and ability to maintainstrict confidentiality.Ability to use good judgment, think critically, and communicateeffectively.Must have experience operating and maintaining equipment andhand-powered tools.Must be able to demonstrate above average knowledge ofconstruction practices, electricity, and plumbing. Keep maintenance areas clean and organizedLog time and work performed through proper work ordersystem. University campus grounds indoors and outdoorsExposure to all types of weather and extreme temperaturesMust have reliable vehicle for on campus transportation. Physical Abilities – Activities that are commonly associatedwith the performance of the functions of this job. The physicaldemands described below are representative of those that must bemet by an employee to successfully perform the essential functionsof this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enableindividuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. Support the mission of the university and serve as anambassador of the university. ​Equal Opportunity EmployerLindenwood University is an Equal Opportunity employer. TheUniversity complies with appropriate federal, state, and local lawsand provides equal employment opportunities and access to educationprograms without regard to race, color, religion, gender, age,sexual orientation, national origin, veteran status, disability, orany other protected status to all qualified applicants andemployees. Lindenwood University is committed to a policy ofnon-discrimination and dedicated to providing a positivediscrimination-free educational work environment.last_img read more

Oxford access policy lags behind Labour

first_imgOXFORD has hit back at comments made by a leading think tank criticising the University for falling behind on admissions targets.Findings by the Institute for Public Policy and Research, which have been released ahead of a full report due out next year, show that Oxford is far short of hitting its target of admitting 62% of its students from the state sector by 2011. Present admissions figures for state school pupils stand at 54%.IPPR Co-Director Lisa Harker condemned the figures and said that Oxford “must stop blaming a lack of applications for their failure to make progress”.A spokesman for IPPR said, “On current progress, Oxford is going to take ten years to meet the access benchmarks that the University agreed with the Office for Fair Access. That is twice as long as the five years they pledged it would take.”He added, “Oxford will need to radically rethink their approach to attracting students from state schools…and stop waiting for talented state school students to apply but seeking them out and making them offers.”Oxford University attacked the allegations and criticised the analysis behind IPPR’s investigations, which it claimed was misleading. A spokesperson for the University Press Office said, “Not all students gaining 3 As want to do a subject offered by the University of Oxford. Nor do they all have the right combination of A-level subjects to gain entry even if they are interested in one of the courses on offer.”She said that three As alone are not enough to guarantee a place, pointing out that A-level results are only one of the criteria that tutors take into account when selecting candidates, as they also consider GCSEs, aptitude tests, interviews, personal statements and written work.  OUSU Vice President for Access and Academic Affairs, James Lamming, said, “The University of Oxford does not offer degrees in every subject, nor will all students find an Oxbridge learning environment best for them.“Any assumption that all students who get three A grades at A-level will therefore apply to Oxford or Cambridge is flawed. However, we would certainly aspire to encourage all pupils who have the potential to come to Oxford to consider an application,” he added. Cambridge is faring marginally better than Oxford with state school numbers at 57%, but it will not attain its targets for another five years.Harker said that both Oxford and Cambridge “need to be more proactive”. She said, “Students getting three ‘A’ grade A-levels at state schools are significantly underrepresented at both universities. “Oxford and Cambridge must stop blaming a lack of applications for their failure to make progress. It does not matter how many bursaries they offer or how many students visit their campuses if students from non-traditional backgrounds are not applying.”IPPR’s full report, Universities Challenged, will be published in 2008.By Natasha Vashishtlast_img read more

Ingredients watch

first_imgA major trend in the industry will be increased satiety, making the consumer feel full for longer. By increasing the amount of soluble and insoluble fibres in bakery goods – with such products having a low glycaemic index – energy is released slowly and steadily, helping to control appetite as well as cholesterol levels.There are almost 24 million overweight adults in the UK, so this trend is of increasing importance.As salt is one of the consumer’s biggest concerns, including its association to cardiovascular disease, there has been a definite demand for salt reduction in products. This can often be difficult to achieve without compromising on taste. Yet Low Sodium Mineral Sea Salt can help combat this problem, as it contains 60% less sodium than ordinary salt. Much of this sodium is replaced by potassium, magnesium and other minerals found in sea water.Another trend is using safe levels of selenium in baked goods. With a selenium intake deficit in the population, and recent associations with prostate cancer, we are looking into safe levels of selenium in wheat, based on the Food Standards Agency’s expert panel on safe upper levels, as both too little and excessive amounts ingested can result in illness.There can be something beneficial in everything we eat. Not everyone wants to take vitamin tablets and bakers can add ingredients such as calcium to products, which can benefit consumers’ health.Markus Smet, head of marketing and strategy,last_img read more

The New Mastersounds Donate Half Of Last Night’s Show Proceeds To Standing Rock

first_imgEarlier this week, The New Mastersounds encountered the Standing Rock protests firsthand while traveling from Montana to Minnesota. The band checked into their hotel and found officers in the parking lot, gearing up to take on peaceful protestors with combat fatigues and weaponry. Naturally, the band knew they had to do something, and decided to donate half of the money raised from their show in Minneapolis, MN last night to Stand With Standing Rock.Guitarist Eddie Roberts tells the full story.“Tuesday night, on our long drive from Montana to Minneapolis, we found ourselves in a horrible situation. As we checked into our hotel for the night, we walked into a disturbing scene… a parking lot full of militarized police, head-to-toe in combat fatigues, loaded up with weapons, as they prepared for their next strike on Standing Rock’s peaceful protestors. The temperature was freezing, and the display of violent force was intimidating.Given the escalating violence of the last few days and our own experience, we (The New Mastersounds) have decided to donate half the money ‪from last night’s show to the Standing Rock Sioux.Our thoughts go out to the Standing Rock protestors on this Thanksgiving day.”You can find out more information about, and donate to, Stand with Standing Rock, by heading here.last_img read more

PREMIERE: Relive SunSquabi’s Historic Red Rocks Show With Their Brand-New Live Album

first_imgOn April 21st, the beloved Colorado-based live-electronic trio SunSquabi performed the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre, co-headlining the iconic outdoor venue for the first-time ever along with Opiuo. During the packed-out performance, which served as a hometown throwdown for the band and fans, SunSquabi showcased their versatility, standout musicianship, and ever-evolving sound, proving why they are one of the most quickly rising ensembles on the scene.On Friday, SunSquabi will officially release their newest full-length live album, Live At Red Rocks, which allows listeners to relive this historic performance from the band’s history. Across the 80-minute, 12-song set, the group offers an electric performance, heavy on danceable grooves and blistering guitar riffs. With contagious energy and boundary-pushing improvisations, the album is a must-hear for long-time fans and new listeners curious to see what the SunSquabi buzz is all about.As Kevin Donohue explained, “Coming home from one of the best tours that we have ever been on and going straight into this show was a really incredible feeling.” He continued, “All of that fresh energy, as well as having our friends and family on stage with us that night, was truly the greatest feeling ever.”During the band’s highly anticipated Red Rocks performance, the trio of Donohue (guitar, keys, production), Josh Fairman (bass, synth), and Chris Anderson (drums) augmented their lineup, inviting special guests to join them across the performance. Toward the end of the show, during takes on “Cinnamon”, “Just A Little”, and “Pygmy Up”, the band welcomed Nicholas Gerlach (saxophone), Will Trask (percussion), Eric Luba (keys), Leah Druzinsky (vocals), and Darryl Abrahamson (Trumpet), further bolstering SunSquabi’s powerful sound.Live At Red Rocks features three unreleased tracks, giving listeners the opportunity to hear the tunes before studio renditions are formally released—incluing “Chrysalis” and “Night Moth”, the final two unreleased songs in a trio inspired by the biological process of metamorphosis that will get their official studio release on a full EP due out this fall. The show also opens with fan favorites like “Deluxe” and “Pablito” and closes with a stand-out, one-two hit of “Pangolin”, another previously unreleased track, and “Sticky”.Live For Live Music is proud to present its readers with an early listen to SunSquabi’s Live At Red Rocks. You can listen to the premiere of Live At Red Rocks, plus check out the album’s tracklist, the show’s official video recap, and the band’s upcoming tour dates, below. For more information about the band and for ticketing, head to SunSquabi’s website here. Upcoming SunSquabi Tour Dates6.21.18 Electric Forest Festival, Rothbury MI6.28.18 Electric Forest Festival, Rothbury MI7.13.18 Camp Bisco, Scranton PA7.20.18 Hullabaloo Festival, Bellevue NE7.21.18 Crossroads, Kansas City MO7.28.18 Taos Mothership, Taos NM8.02.18 Summer Meltdown, Darrington WA8.04.18 Kind Mind Campout, Norridgewock ME8.17.18 Big What?!, Pittsboro NC8.18.18 WaveSpell, Belden CA8.24.18 Live on King St, Madison WI9.15.18 Grandoozy, Denver CO9.20.18 Resonance Music Festival, Thornville OH10.6.18 Big Weekend, Chicago ILView All Tour Dates [Video: Chester Pink / SunSquabi]‘Live at Red Rocks’ Track List1. Deluxe2. Pablito3. Mob Boss4. Caterpillar5. Chrysalis6. Night Moth7. Tequila Mockingbird8. Cinnamon*9. Just A Little*10. Pygmy Up*11. Pangolin12. Sticky*Featuring Nicholas Gerlach (Saxophone), Will Trask (percussion), Eric Luba (keys), Leah Druzinsky (vocals), and Darryl Abrahamson (Trumpet)View All Trackslast_img read more

Message delivered

first_imgIn April 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. sat in a Birmingham, Ala., jail cell with enough time on his hands to “write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers.” The resulting “Letter from Birmingham Jail” laid out his rationale for civil disobedience against Southern segregation and called on moderate whites to stop sitting on the sidelines.Nearly five decades later, 900 Harvard Business School (HBS) students are hearing King’s call again, reflecting on his words and on the qualities that made him continue to lead and to push ahead when the future was far from clear, as he sat in jail.“It’s about exercising leadership in the face of grave tension, resistance, and potential failure, seeing things that others don’t see, and trying to mobilize them,” said Joshua Margolis, associate professor of business administration. “It’s a nice coupling between the mission of the School, which is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, and a leader who at the age of 34 made an immense difference.”On Monday (May 10), a present-day leader visited Margolis’ class and talked about how the Civil Rights Movement and King’s words affected her. Harvard President Drew Faust told students that they don’t have to enter service-related fields to foster change. If they desire it, opportunities to act will become apparent.“Keep in mind this intense desire to make a difference, and you’re going to find a lot of opportunities to do it,” Faust said.Faust’s hour-long talk capped a year of students’ studying leadership and ethics in HBS’s mandatory “Leadership and Corporate Accountability” course. In one of the course’s final assignments, students read Martin Luther King Jr.’s famed “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which he responded to a letter from a group of white local pastors who acknowledged the injustice of segregation but counseled that the remedy be found in the courts, not on the streets.King, in a now-famous reply, claimed that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and laid out his rationale for nonviolent protest, saying that long years of waiting for remedy had yielded nothing for the area’s black community and that unjust laws must not be obeyed. He also expressed deep disappointment with the local churches and with white moderates, saying their caution and silence were more pernicious than the outright opposition of the Ku Klux Klan and other extremist groups.Faust’s talk came on the heels of a lively class discussion of the material in one of the course’s 10 sections. The discussion, led by Margolis, had students analyzing King’s motivations, his goals, and the effects of writing the letter, as well as their own thoughts on ethics and leadership that they might apply to their own lives and careers.Harvard’s first woman president told the students that as a girl growing up in the segregated South, the Civil Rights Movement had a big impact on her. She recalled first becoming aware that her Virginia elementary school was segregated at age 9 when the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education came down, outlawing segregated schools.She recalled writing a letter to President Dwight Eisenhower protesting the separate treatment of people based on race. Years later, as a student at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, Faust left her studies to join protesters across the South during the spring and summer of 1964.For Faust, as for so many other young people of the time, the Civil Rights Movement was the dominating experience of her life, she said. The experience was even more keenly felt among those who grew up in the South’s segregated communities, and that ultimately led to her decision to become a historian of the American South.“I spent my whole life following Martin Luther King, feeling somehow accountable for the issues he raised,” Faust said. “The resonance of the movement for us was even more powerful than for those who lived elsewhere. It also offered us a very clear way in which we could make a difference.”“Letter from Birmingham Jail” put the same questions to HBS’s first-year students that the Civil Rights Movement put to Faust: What will you do to fight injustice? How will you make the world a better place?First-year student Brett Gibson said it was helpful to get the perspective of someone like Faust who lived through the era. Gibson, who served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan and who is considering entering politics, said he is thinking about how best to use his time in a meaningful way as he weighs summer internship opportunities, including a post in the financial sector.Stephanie Atiase, another first-year student, said she is interested in getting involved in leadership development after she leaves Harvard, perhaps through a business that engages in social enterprise, making a product whose proceeds go to a good cause.last_img read more

Diamonds are a lab’s best friend

first_imgIt’s one of the purest and most versatile materials in the world, with uses in everything from jewelry to industrial abrasives to quantum science. But a group of Harvard scientists has uncovered a new use for diamonds: tracking neural signals in the brain.Using atomic-scale quantum defects in diamonds known as nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers to detect the magnetic field generated by neural signals, scientists working in the lab of Ronald Walsworth, a faculty member in Harvard’s Center for Brain Science and Physics Department, demonstrated a noninvasive technique that can image the activity of neurons.The work was described in a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and was performed in collaboration with Harvard faculty members Mikhail (Misha) Lukin and Hongkun Park.“The idea of using NV centers for sensing neuron magnetic fields began with the initial work of Ron Walsworth and Misha Lukin about 10 years ago, but for a long time our back-of-the-envelope calculations made it seem that the fields would be too small to detect, and the technology wasn’t there yet,” said Jennifer Schloss, a Ph.D. student and co-author of the study.“This paper is really the first step to show that measuring magnetic fields from individual neurons can be done in a scalable way,” said Ph.D. student and fellow co-author Matthew Turner. “We wanted to be able to model the signal characteristics, and say, based on theory, ‘This is what we expect to see.’ Our experimental results were consistent with these expectations. This predictive ability is important for understanding more complicated neuronal networks.”At the heart of the system developed by Schloss and Turner, together with postdoctoral scientist John Barry, is a tiny — just 4-by-4 millimeters square and half a millimeter thick — wafer of diamond impregnated with trillions of NV centers.The system works, Schloss and Turner explained, because the magnetic fields generated by signals traveling in a neuron interact with the electrons in the NV centers, subtly changing their quantum “spin” state. The diamond wafer is bathed in microwaves, which put the NV electrons in a mixture of two spin states. A neuron magnetic field then causes a change in the fraction of spins in one of the two states. Using a laser constrained to the diamond, the researchers can detect this fraction, reading out the neural signal as an optical image, without light entering the biological sample.In addition to demonstrating that the system works for dissected neurons, Schloss, Turner, and Barry showed that NV sensors could be used to sense neural activity in live, intact marine worms.“We realized we could just put the whole animal on the sensor and still detect the signal, so it’s completely noninvasive,” Turner said. “That’s one reason using magnetic fields offers an advantage over other methods. If you measure voltage- or light-based signals in traditional ways, biological tissue can distort those signals. With magnetic fields, though the signal gets smaller with stand-off distance, the information is preserved.”Schloss, Turner, and Barry were also able to show that the neural signals traveled more slowly from the worm’s tail to its head than from head to tail, and their magnetic field measurements matched predictions of this difference in conduction velocity.While the study proves that NV centers can be used to detect neural signals, Turner said the initial experiments were designed to tackle the most accessible approach to the problem, using robust neurons that produce especially large magnetic fields. The team is already working to further refine the system, with an eye toward improving its sensitivity and pursuing applications to frontier problems in neuroscience. To sense signals from smaller mammalian neurons, Schloss explained, they intend to implement a pulsed magnetometry scheme to realize up to 300 times better sensitivity per volume. The next step, said Turner, is implementing a high-resolution imaging system in hopes of producing real-time, optical images of neurons as they fire.“We’re looking at imaging networks of neurons over long durations, up to days,” said Schloss. “We hope to use this to understand not just the physical connectivity between neurons, but the functional connectivity — how the signals actually propagate to inform how neural circuits operate over the long term.”“No tool that exists today can tell us everything we want to know about neuronal activity or be applied to all systems of interest,” Turner said. “This quantum diamond technology lays out a new direction for addressing some of these challenges. Imaging neuron magnetic fields is a largely unexplored area due to previous technological limitations.”The hope, Schloss said, is that the tool might one day find a home in the labs of biomedical researchers or anyone interested in understanding brain activity.“We want to understand the brain from the single-neuron level all the way up, so we envision that this could become a tool useful both in biophysics labs and in medical studies,” she said. “It’s noninvasive and fast, and the optical readout could allow for a variety of applications, from studying neurodegenerative diseases to monitoring drug delivery in real time.”Walsworth credits the leadership of Josh Sanes, the Paul J. Finnegan Family Director of the center, and Kenneth Blum, executive director, for enabling this biological application of quantum diamond technology. “Center for Brain Science leadership provided the essential lab space and a welcoming, interdisciplinary community,” he said. “This special environment allows physical scientists and engineers to translate quantum technology into neuroscience.”last_img read more

Beyond the Box: Inventing at the Edge of Customer Need

first_imgHenry Ford may or may not have said that customers would have asked for faster horses instead of motor cars, but Assaf Natanzon certainly shares the philosophy behind that famous quote.“To be a prolific inventor you need to think outside of the box. Not think of what exists. Not think of what customers say that they want. But think of what the customers really want, but do not know that they want,” Natanzon says.And he should know. Currently Dell EMC’s vice president of Advanced Technology & Investment Evaluation of EMEA in the Office of the CTO and Distinguished Engineer, Natanzon recently made the list of the world’s most prolific inventors – 142 individuals with more than 200 families of patents. Natanzon is the first Israeli to make the list.His wife Mirit Natanzon says they count each patent that he registers, but he’s such a prolific inventor that they only go out to celebrate every 50 patents. That doesn’t mean he spends all his time between locked away in a lonely lab, though.“You cannot do anything alone,” Natanzon says in the video below. “I believe that about 80-90 percent of my patents come from teamwork, from brainstorming, from sitting together and raising new ideas and seeing where they take.”Collaborating with people from other disciplines is where he sees innovation happening. And it’s something his teammates say Natanzon is especially good at doing.“I haven’t met another person like him, who is so advanced in science and technology, yet such a pleasure, always such a pleasure, to consult with, to work with, to try things with, to evaluate things with,” says Dr. Orna Berry vice president, Dell EMC and general manager Israel Center of Excellence, Dell EMC. “This combination is unique. He is one of a kind.”Natanzon’s 202 currently issued patents are primarily in the areas of data protection and disaster recovery, and he is most proud of his work on any-point-in-time recovery with Dell EMC RecoverPoint. But, these days he also works with the Dell Technologies Capital team meeting with startups and evaluating new technologies.Natanzon is also still a student, studying for his Ph.D. in the Department of Computer Science at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.“Assaf is brilliant and perfectly combines strong theoretical and analytical skills with practical implementation-oriented know-how,” Professor Eitan Bachmat, who is working with Natanzon on his Ph.D. recently told Hamodia.We’re proud to have Natanzon on our team. His love of technology from the gadget up to the enterprise system keeps innovation for our customers alive; but as he notes, it doesn’t happen alone. Prolific inventors tend to be associated with other prolific inventors, and/or with prolifically inventive organizations, notes Mark Summerfield on the patentology blog.The Dell EMC Israel Center of Excellence where Natanzon is based is one of Dell Technologies 17 global research and development centers. Dell Technologies was ranked #17 on the Intellectual Property Owners Association Top 300 Patent Owners list for 2016 and has over 22,775 patents and patent applications.Yes, with great employees like Natanzon we make digital transformation a reality.last_img read more

Tracy K. Smith explores Christianity’s connection to poetry

first_imgColleen Fischer | The Observer Tracy K. Smith, the Poet Laureate of the U.S., delivers the Christian Culture lecture at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday night.Smith said the use of metaphor is especially prevalent in the New Testament of the Bible and provides Christ and the disciples with a way to transmit not only information, but also awe.“The Gospels offer language-based proof that there is no such thing as seeing eye to eye, no such thing as having the exact same experience as anyone else,” she said. “In their accounts of Christ’s time on earth, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John create together a single story, complete with perspectival shifts, lapses and any contradictions as corroborations. That these different writings of experience work together toward creating a unified and dynamic whole, despite the gaps and variations distinguishing them from one another, strikes me as, well, poetic.”The layered perspectives, imaginations, sensibilities and vocabularies of the Gospels reveal a singular, universal truth, Smith said.“This may be the history of all religions, all the various vocabularies devised to transmit what is fundamentally beyond us,” she said. “And so the most fruitful attempts at bearing witness are necessarily expansive, drawing upon disparate and sometimes desperate resources.”Smith said she prefers to focus on accounts of Christianity that relate to “the experience of wonder rather than demystifying or domesticating its source.”“Like the language of spiritual awakening, poems seek to be living words — vehicles for transmitting a sense of the strange and the powerful from speaker to reader,” she said. “And like the parable, poems offer tools that foster an ongoing and repeatable state of wonder. They impart to the reader a new kind of awareness, a new kind of sensitivity. The language of poetry makes you more attentive of the world beyond you, even as it serves to enlarge your vocabulary for the world within you.”Though poetry and Christianity do not share the same terms, Smith said, the two share a commonality that allows exploration of the world and oneself.“Christianity doesn’t exist without devotion to Christ,” Smith said.  “Poetry’s devotions are many. But, if I back up far enough, I see that the two share a mode. I think the creative state which is beholden to something unseen lives both outside and within the self and is similar to the state of openness, humility, compassion and receptivity at the root of Christ’s message about the kingdom of God, which also lives both outside and within the self.”Reading and writing poetry requires an act of submission, Smith said, through which one becomes a beholden stranger and places personal knowledge aside to make room for new discoveries. Smith said the revelations of poetry and faith come from outside of logic.“As a writer and a spiritual being, I’m striving towards that which puts me in touch even only imaginatively with the largeness around and within,” Smith said.Smith said her work, “Life on Mars,” draws unconsciously, even involuntarily, upon her experiences with faith. Her 2012 Pulitzer Prize-awarded poetry collection started as a method of exploring her anxieties about the future of America through extrapolation. However, after the death of Smith’s father, she said the book became a way to wrestle with her grief and create a satisfying sense of where his spirit resided. Imagining the afterlife through the lens of outer space helped Smith come to terms with death and those in her life who had died.“Space became a really useful backdrop for [imaging my father’s place in the afterlife],” she said. “I grew up in the Church. I grew up with the image of God in the Sistine Chapel, and I didn’t want my father to be circumscribed on something that seemed that graspable. I wanted to find a way of making the God that I entrusted [my father] to as large as math, as large as the universe, and so the poems relentlessly led me in that direction.”Smith’s poem “It & Co.” portrayed a God that Smith said she believed was greater than the one she already knew.“The first draft of this poem was a second person address to the God on the ceiling [of the Sistine Chapel] … I felt almost blasphemous,” she said. “I felt almost worried that maybe I should hedge my bets and change my approach. And so the pronoun changed and became ‘it,’ and ‘it’ allowed me to create a vast, unhuman, unknowable version of God that oddly enough was more consoling.”The unknowable, unattainable version of God Smith portrays through her work reflects her thoughts on what poetry is, she said. Smith said she allows herself to pose questions that can remain unanswered throughout her work and said she encourages others to embrace this notion in their writing.“A poem is not a puzzle,” Smith said. “It’s not written by someone who has figured something out and then hidden it inside of fancy language. A poem is a root towards reckoning with and building from real, urgent material, questions or experiences. Even if it’s a poem about joy, it seems to gather something more from the recollection of it than is possible in the actual moment.”Though Smith believes poetry does not always need to answer its own questions, she said poetry can still be purposeful in enacting change.“I do [see poetry as activism] for a lot of reasons, partly because of overt subject matter which challenges something,” Smith said. “I also think that poetry is a form of resisting the degradation of English and thought and conversation and social interaction and curiosity. That feels like an activist mechanism to say that mindful language, thoughtfully wielded and carefully listened to and discussed can make things better, can make us realer to each other, can make our feelings realer to each other. It feels like a tool of activism.”Tags: Christian Culture Lecture, poet laureate, tracy k. smith Tracy K. Smith, the 22nd Poet Laureate of the U.S., spoke at the annual Saint Mary’s Christian Culture Lecture on Wednesday night. The acclaimed writer shared her beliefs on the connections between poetry and faith, read her work and explained the Christian undertones of her writings. Smith said faith and poetry provide an opportunity for spiritual and personal awakening.“Poetry is one of the languages that puts us in touch with our higher selves,” she said.  “Poetry, like the language of belief, puts us in touch, if we let it, with our eternal selves. Spiritual belief has given us a vocabulary for wonder, for the miraculous and indescribable. In so doing, it has argued compellingly for the necessity of metaphor as a means of making familiar and intimate what we otherwise could not comprehend.”last_img read more