Born in Belfast, Ireland and raised in Boston, Mass., Elisa is a writer, poet, and M. Ed. graduate student. Her work has been published in Fathom and Sojourners magazine. On Twitter she can be found @elmcrawley.

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D.L. Mayfield Questions the Myth of the American Dream

by Elisa Crawley 04-21-2020
A review of “The Myth of the American Dream: Reflections on Affluence, Autonomy, Safety, and Power,” by D.L. Mayfield.


IN HER LATEST book, writer D.L. Mayfield welcomes readers on a journey of seeing. This essay collection weaves an exploration of the desires embedded in the American Dream with stories of Mayfield’s own social justice conversion and portraits of her Portland neighborhood.

These narratives of how colonialism, capitalism, racism, and consumerism store themselves in privileged American hearts invite self-reflection. Mayfield challenges the American Dream’s toxic individualism, dividing the book into four themes: affluence, autonomy, safety, and power. “We do not care that people will suffer and die,” she writes, “due to our own desire for safety.”

Mayfield reflects on her own awakening and exposure to xenophobic faith communities, where she began to have “serious problems reconciling the Suffering Servant with a conservative religious agenda.” The text also walks her readers through the gentrification of her neighborhood and how her community is affected by travel bans, the U.S. education system, and other aspects of local and national politics.

Faith Tides

by Elisa Crawley 08-05-2019
A poem

Illustration by Ric Carrasquillo

I am Peter at Gethsemane
where I wake to oak
branches suspended,
spinning like hair in water.

Flora’s night
blanched, a prophet’s
chanting, every caesura’s
quiet steeping, transfiguring
grief to alms.