Walking in through the side entrance, I sit down in darkness, a hushed shuffling of feet around me the only sound. Dozens of candles and the heavy smell of incense bring my mind to a strange calm. Then the singing: One male voice takes up a half-song, half-chant; a chorus soon joins in. The voices … Continue reading Sanctuary

Renaissance Man

Jazz Age Harlem holds a special place in the American popular imagination. The words "Harlem Renaissance" conjure up images of hip jazz clubs, stylish men and women strutting their finest on Lenox Avenue, and an artistic scene exploding with new black talent. Hot Harlem is no longer just a train ride away, but those who … Continue reading Renaissance Man


Brother Stephen White, born-again Christian preacher, modern-day "saint" and self-proclaimed "Soldier of Christ," has positioned himself no more than 50 yards from my dorm room window for the past two days. His constant stream of jeers and proclamations and the shouted responses of indignant Yale students seep in as I immerse myself in microeconomics and … Continue reading Deliverance

Bringing Up the Rear

It’s five minutes before the gun, and we are gathered at the starting line to stretch. The Official Guide to the New Haven Road Race claims that more than 5,000 runners from all over the world are here. The New Haven Green is a sea of flesh. There are yuppie mothers pushing toddlers in three-wheeled … Continue reading Bringing Up the Rear

A Stover for Our Time

Just as every high school student in America knows a Tracy Flick, the painfully overachieving protagonist from Tom Perrotta’s novel Election, every Yalie knows a Kristin Willard. She is the "prep school girl from Greenwich, a long-limbed beauty with an overactive social conscience" who works in the Branford Dining Hall with Danny, the working-class hero … Continue reading A Stover for Our Time

Poet of the Land of Promises

When I was five years old, a poet came to my house and sat at my kitchen table. I couldn’t pronounce his name, but I could see the respect my parents, both writing professors, had for him. He had a heavy-browed, gray-haired head and a gentle, accented voice, and he laughed with my father about … Continue reading Poet of the Land of Promises

Masters of the Universe

One Monday last March, three CIA agents walked into a Yale classroom. Professor Paul Kennedy introduced them to his class-"Studies in Grand Strategy"-and they took their seats at the back of the classroom. The students gave the visit little thought; high-profile guests often visited the class. Besides, the professors are pretty impressive in their own … Continue reading Masters of the Universe

The Last Picture Show

Halfway up Broadway, near the center of New Haven, the York Square Cinema readies for combat. Strategy requires a business-as-usual approach, which means that the promotional posters stay on the front windows and the poster-size movie reviews remain in display cases by the doors, all below the giant marquee where mismatched letters announce the week’s … Continue reading The Last Picture Show