Chris Yokel

Chris currently teaches writing and literature to community college students in Massachusetts. He is the author of six books of poetry, and can probably be found reading a book, drinking chai, and wearing flannel. In 2018 he and his wife Jen co-founded The Poetry Pub, an online community for poets. He enjoys walking in the woods, hanging out in coffee shops, and poking around used bookstores.


The King of Autumn

By Chris Yokel

In the spirit of fall, here’s a “lost verse” from Douglas McKelvey’s liturgy of “Praise to the King of Creation.”

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My Attention Is My Prayer

By Chris Yokel

These days, I tend to find myself bemoaning my own easy distractedness. I took a little bit of a social media fast in the opening weeks of the year, and I resolved at the end of that experience to be more measured in my use of social media, but let’s be honest: I fell pretty quickly back into old habits. I guess it’s at least good that I’m aware of my backslide? Gotta start somewhere.

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Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson Help Us To Pray

By Chris Yokel

If I’m honest, I’ve followed Jesus most of my life, and sometimes I don’t know how to pray.

If you’ve been part of the Christian spiritual tradition for any length of time, you probably have collected a few ideas of what prayer is and is not, both from teaching and practice. Is prayer just pulling the lever of a cosmic slot machine and hoping everything lines up? Is prayer a non-verbal, mystical experience of the Divine? Is prayer simply reciting the words of other saints from the past? Does God need my prayers or do I need them?

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Prodigal Sons and Fathers in the Music of Springsteen

By Chris Yokel

“My Father’s House” is the ninth track on Springsteen’s classic lo-fi album Nebraska, and the last song he wrote for the album. In his autobiography Born To Run, Bruce has this to say about the creation of the album:

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What The Office Taught Me About Christmas

By Chris Yokel

One of the more odd Christmas traditions that my wife and I have developed over the last few years is re-watching all of the Christmas episodes from everyone’s favorite workplace comedy, The Office.

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Quietly, Quietly: An Advent Reflection

By Chris Yokel

Today is bone cold, gray, and still, which seems appropriate for the beginning of Advent. As I was headed for a walk in the woods, I was listening to a haunting rendition of Longfellow’s “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day” by Beta Radio. It’s been one of those Christmas songs I’ve least connected with, for whatever reason. But Beta Radio’s melancholy twist resonated with me this morning, under the gray skies…

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God in the Dark: Rilke’s Prayers of a Young Poet

By Chris Yokel

I would like to beg of you, dear friend, as well as I can, to have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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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 ›