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  • Puerto Rico’s DIY Disaster Relief
    Two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, aid remained a bureaucratic quagmire, mismanaged by FEMA, the FBI, the US military, the laughably corrupt local government. The island looked like it was stuck somewhere between the nineteenth century and the...
  • What’s in a T-Shirt?
    MoMA's “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” refers less to a period of time than to a way of relating to time itself—of dealing with and mingling the past, present, and future. The show features items that have been invented anew, used for present needs, or...
  • Norwegian Woods
    Edvard Munch was never simply a Norwegian artist. His appeal, like his own life, has always been both local and cosmopolitan at the same time. He may be best known internationally for his anguished paintings of the 1890s, especially for the group...
  • Russia’s Gay Demons
    Early in Vladimir Putin’s first presidency I spoke to a Moscow banker, with reason to care on this point, who said he detected no trace of anti-Semitism in Putin personally, but that Putin would encourage popular anti-Semitism in a second if he...
  • Year One: Trump’s Foreign Affairs
    Until a year ago, the US was setting a lead of a very different sort. America’s first black president seemed about to make way for the first woman president. Once again, the US was offering an example to the world, affording a glimpse of what...
  • Marseus in the Land of Snakes
    No one quite knows what led Otto Marseus van Schrieck to the invention of the sottobosco, but it was certainly in the spirit of the times. Born around 1620, Marseus grew up amid the great scientific flourishing of the seventeenth century. This...
  • Year One: Stress Testing the Constitution
    Trump’s lawyers deny that the president’s continued receipt of business from foreign, federal, and state governments violates the Constitution. They may be right. And it may be difficult to persuade a court that anyone has standing—the appropriate...
  • Year One: Rhetoric & Responsibility
    The Trump problem is probably somewhat self-limiting, he and his ilk being so very strange. But there are older, deeper problems. A substantial part of the American public seems to have lost interest in ideas, therefore in substantive controversy....
  • Tove Jansson: Beyond the Moomins?
    For anyone familiar with Tove Jansson from the Moomins alone, the most surprising works in the exhibition—which aims to rectify the fact that less attention has generally been paid to her range as a visual artist—will be her early self-portraits...

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  • Rope Dancer, by M. J. Fitzgerald (1986)

    Many of the stories in M. J. Fitzgerald’s collection, Rope Dancer, read like unsettling dreams: vivid enough to provoke deep feelings but too full of bizarre, illogical transitions and events to be part of waking life. In “Mystery Story,” a woman finds herself returned, again and again, to the compartment of a passenger train, where... Read more

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  • Croatian Tales of Long Ago, by Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (1922)

    One day late, but in keeping with the spirit of Halloween, which reminds us each year of the didactic benefits of scaring the crap out of kids, I want to celebrate a fine example of fairy tales told with the gloves off. As Bruno Bettelheim (perhaps somewhat plagiaristically) reminded us, uniformly pleasant and positive stories... Read more

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  • “In Sleep,” by Robert Kotlowitz (1954)

    In Sleep What do I see in my sleep? A steady seepage of life in dreams that are of no use to a practical body. I awake like you, sapped by a watchful reality, defined by a soft-boiled egg. Today’s newspaper tucked under my arm, swats invisible enemies on the fleeing subway. Time, then, is... Read more

    The post “In Sleep,” by Robert Kotlowitz

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  • The Smoking Mountain, by Kay Boyle (1951; 1963)

    In 1948, the American writer Kay Boyle left France, where she had spent most of the previous 25 years to live in Germany. Germany was then an occupied country, split between the Soviets, French, British, and Americans into four zones of military administration. Whether she was making amends for sitting out France’s own time of... Read more

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  • Discovery, a Paperback Magazine (1953-1955)

    During my annual pilgrimage to the Montana Valley Book Store, I decided to dig around in the anthologies section, a section I’ve always avoided before. I’ll admit to a bias for original sources over compilations, and I’ve rarely found a good reason to overcome it. But it was hot outside and cool in the basement... Read more

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  • Selected Stories, by Martin Armstrong (1951)

    In his dictionary, Samuel Johnson defined craftsman as “”An artificer; a manufacturer; a mechanick.” When the first OED was published 150 years later, craftsman was still associated with assembly rather than creation: “A man who practices a handicraft; an artificer, artisan.” And even today, to refer to a writer as a craftsman is to assign... Read more

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  • Vertical and Horizontal, by Lillian Ross (1963)

    Lillian Ross’s death at the venerable age of 99 has been widely noted, starting with Rebecca Mead’s obituary in Ross’s beloved The New Yorker. A number of her more successful books, including Portrait of Hemingway, have been reprinted in recent years and I suspect more will follow now. Less likely to be reissued is her... Read more

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  • Thirty Years, by John P. Marquand (1954)

    The dust jacket of Marquand’s Thirty Years provides this unimpressive description of the book’s contents: “A collection of stories, articles and essays which have not previously appeared in book form.” Plenty of such collections have been published, but perhaps none other has been so honest in acknowledging the flimsy rationale for its existence. Little, Brown,... Read more

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  • The Strangers Were There: Selected Stories by John Bell Clayton (1957)

    With Charlottesville, Virginia and its statue of General Robert E. Lee in the news, it’s worth taking a moment to note a long-forgotten collection of short stories set in and around the town. John Bell Clayton’s The Strangers Were There (1957), published posthumously, earned mildly reviews and quickly disappeared, but it remains perhaps the most... Read more

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  • The Third Reich of Dreams, by Charlotte Beradt (1968)

    Robert Ley, head of the German Labour Front under Hitler, once said, “The only person in Germany who still leads a private life is the person who sleeps.” In The Third Reich of Dreams, Charlotte Beradt proves that Ley underestimated the power of his own regime over the people’s unconscious. Working quietly and covertly, through... Read more

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(04/15/2015) Islandia: A Poem by Maria Negroni. Barrytown. 2001. Station Hill Press/Barrytown Ltd. Translated from the Spanish by Anne Twitty. Bilingual Edition. 171 pages. paperback. 1886449155.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 ‘Islandia is an extraordinary cycle of poems written in two very different and contrasting forms - the Nordic, masculine, epic style of the prose poems, and the Mediterranean, feminine, mannered lyric style of the others. Anne Twitty’s translation of this masterful cycle has itself been carried out with great mastery.’ - Esther Allen, translator of Octavio Paz, Rosario Castellanos, and Jorge Luis Borges. ‘The saga of Scandinavians, who - in flight or exile - founded Islandia, is counterpointed by the ironic verses of a female speaker who is also a shipwreck, a fugitive, and a seeker-inventor of islands. In this work, destinies cross—that of vehement navigators among the whales and mists, and that of a writer who, telling the saga of others, assumes and discards a sumptuous mask.’ - Julio E. Miranda, Domingo Hoy, Caracas. ‘With remarkable beauty, a major poet deciphers a landscape and a language embedded in the most profound Latin American tradition.’ - Tomás Eloy MartInez, author of Santa Evita. ‘A female voice brilliantly deconstructs the masculine constellation: epic/adventure/war. A severely wrought patina makes for a sense of excavation, out of which rises a different, female, spirit of adventure. In the words of the H.D. epigraph: ‘We are discoverers / of the not-known / the unrecorded; we have no maps.’ - Rosmarie Waidrop, author of The Reproduction of Profiles. ‘It is not easy to find a form for journey… for there is no poetry without cost.’ So say the ongoing voices in Maria Negroni’s remarkable and innovative book-length poem. It is a compelling work, deftly connecting embodied experience to history and a cornucopia of language.’ - Sophie Cabot Black, author of The Misunderstanding of Nature.

 

 María Negroni was born October 9, 1951 in Rosario, Argentina. She has published eleven books of poetry, three collections of essays, and two novels, as well as works in translation from French and English. Her work has appeared internationally in literary journals, including Diario de Poesía, Página 12, The Paris Review, Circumference, and Bomb, among others. She has been awarded two Argentine National Book Awards, for her collection of essays Ciudad Gótica (1996) and her poetry collection Viaje de la noche (1997). Her book of poems Islandia, in Anne Twitty’s translation, received a PEN Translation Award in 2001. She has been a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Fundación Octavio Paz, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and others. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. Winner of the following awards - International Prize for Essay Writing from Siglo XXI, 2002 PEN Award for best book of poetry in translation, for Islandia, 2000-2001 Octavio Paz Fellowship for Poetry, 1997 Argentine National Book Award, for El viaje de la noche, 1994 Guggenheim Fellowships. Anne Twitty is a writer, interpreter and translator who lives in New York City. She was for some years editor of the Epicycle section of Parabola Magazine, where some of her essays were published. Anne Twitty’s translations of selections from Maria Negroni’s works have appeared in Hopscotch, Mandorla, The Paris Review and on-line at www.archipelago.org. Her translation of Night Journey (El viaje de la noché) appeared in a bilingual edition published by Princeton University Press in 2002. 

 

 

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