Chris Yokel

Chris teaches writing and literature to college and high school students. He is the author of several books of poetry, and has released several albums of original music. He is also an amateur photographer, part-time stick-swordfighter, and chai enthusiast. He and his wife Jen enjoy reading, writing, and exploring the cities, coasts, and forests of New England.


The Visceral Power of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America”

By Chris Yokel

By now, many of you may know that the Internet blew up last weekend over Childish Gambino’s music video for his new song, “This Is America.” As of the time I’m typing this, five days after release, the video has racked up over 63 million views and probably about as many think pieces.

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Jon Foreman’s 25 in 24

By Chris Yokel

Last year, the seemingly inexhaustible lead singer of Switchfoot, Jon Foreman, released the second four-EP project of his career, called The Wonderlands. The four EPs, Darkness, Dawn, Shadows, and Sunlight, track the hours of the day and explore a variety of themes. As if such a project were not already ambitious enough, Foreman decided to celebrate the project by playing 25 shows within 24 hours in his hometown of San Diego. This musical experience took place between October 24th and 25th of 2017, and a film crew was there to capture the action. For those of us fans not able to be there for such a momentous occasion, we can now experience it through the film 25 in 24, an hour long documentary just released.

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Albums That Shaped Us: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

By Chris Yokel

I was around 20 years old. I’d been raised in a conservative Christian home, so my musical experience was limited to artists like Twila Paris, Steven Curtis Chapman, Keith Green, and Maranatha praise music. As I got older I discovered CCM, which even felt edgy at times (Jesus Freak, amirite?). In fact, I vividly remember destroying one of my W.O.W. Christian albums  (remember those?) because I’d become convinced, in my impressionable youth, that rock music, even Christian rock music, used evil pagan beats. Thankfully, I got over that pretty quickly.

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Taylor Leonhardt’s River House

By Chris Yokel

Every once in awhile, an artist and album comes around that takes you by happy surprise. North Carolina native Taylor Leonhardt’s album River House was that album for me in 2017.

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The Right to be Ridiculous

By Chris Yokel

“The right to be ridiculous is something I hold dear” -Bono

I’m in the middle of a frozen pond. I’m on my knees, butt hiked up in the air as I scrunch down with my phone. What the heck am I doing? I’m capturing this picture: Read More ›

Rabbit Reads: The Age of Dragons

By Chris Yokel

The Age of Dragons Series by James A. Owen (Simon & Schuster, 2015, 2016)
Fiction/Fantasy/Young Adult

Why We Love It: Who wouldn’t love a series where J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Charles Williams become guardians of a map to a parallel fantasy world that contains Read More ›

Porter’s Gate Presents Work Songs

By Chris Yokel

These days, worship music is an entire sub-industry in the realm of art. There are conversations over the nature and performance of said music, and about as many worship traditions as there are denominations. Read More ›

Diving Into Lent (through books, film, music, & a podcast)

By Chris Yokel

While I have long been an appreciator of the church calendar, Lent is the season that I have taken the longest to appreciate, mostly due to shallow evangelical understandings of Roman Catholic traditions (fish on Fridays?). Read More ›

On Being “Original”

By Chris Yokel

This post is adapted from a talk given at Hutchmoot 2016. 

T. S. Eliot is one of the most iconic poets of modern times. In fact some would probably label him one of the most original poets of the 20th century. And yet, when we study his own philosophy and poetry, Eliot does not seem all that interested in being “original” in the sense that we understand it. He is rather, as Thomas Rees puts it, a “master of eclectic synthesis.” Read More ›

Peter Mayer’s Midwinter

By Chris Yokel

Several months ago, I was browsing through the music section at one of my favorite thrift stores when I stumbled across an unusual looking Christmas album. Rather than the glossy, glowy sheen of most holiday album covers, Read More ›

Bon Iver’s 22, A Million: Searching For Light

By Chris Yokel

Bon Iver’s highly anticipated third album is out in the world now. Being a fan of Justin Vernon’s unusual music, I was excited about the new release, but then began to hear that the album was super experimental, Read More ›

RR Interview: Jonny Jimison, creator of The River Fox

By Chris Yokel

Jonny Jimison is the creator of the five-volume graphic novel series The Dragon Lord Saga. I had the opportunity to talk with Jonny about his career as a visual storyteller, what inspired him to create this series, a non-definitive ranking of The Legend of Zelda games, and Read More ›