A Holocaust Survivor’s Letter to Her Father

Book review: But You Did Not Come Back, by Marceline Loridan-Ivens (Amazon / Book Depository) I was quite a cheerful person, you know, in spite of what happened to us…But I’m changing. It isn’t bitterness, I’m not bitter. It’s just as if I were already gone…I don’t belong here anymore. Perhaps it’s trite to say that a book will haunt you, particularly one about the … Continue reading A Holocaust Survivor’s Letter to Her Father

Joan Didion and the Blues

Book review: Blue Nights, by Joan Didion (Amazon / Book Depository) …there comes a span of time approaching and following the summer solstice, some weeks in all, when the twilights turn long and blue…suddenly summer seems near, a possibility, even a promise… you find yourself swimming in the color blue: the actual light is blue, and over the course of an hour or so this blue deepens, … Continue reading Joan Didion and the Blues

Elegies for the Departed

Book review: The Glen Rock Book of the Dead, by Marion Winik (Amazon) After a creative writing assignment led her to thinking about dead people she’d known, poet and author Marion Winik explains that it was “as if tickets to a show had just gone on sale and all my ghosts were screeching up at the box office.” This never seemed morbid or depressing to me. … Continue reading Elegies for the Departed

A Memoir of Violence and Complicated Memory

Book review: The Other Side, by Lacy M. Johnson (Amazon / Book Depository) The short version: Lacy Johnson was kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend and held prisoner in a soundproofed basement he’d constructed solely for the purpose of raping and brutally killing her. He didn’t succeed in killing her. This book is about that event, how it affected her and her relationships over the following years, the ways … Continue reading A Memoir of Violence and Complicated Memory

Poetic Explorations of American Culture, History, Race, and the Downsides of NYC

Book review: Notes from No Man’s Land, by Eula Biss (Amazon / Book Depository) I discovered Eula Biss’s confrontational but melodic, intelligent and analytical writing in the collection Tales of Two Americas. It’s a great collection of essays, stories, and poems all dealing somehow with various aspects of American inequality. She contributed a piece about the concept of white debt, and how it’s not something that can be … Continue reading Poetic Explorations of American Culture, History, Race, and the Downsides of NYC

Jane’s Life in Poetry, Through The Eyes of Her Niece

A southwest view from the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Muskegon, Jane’s hometown, by Darwin Smith Jr. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons Book review: Jane: A Murder, by Maggie Nelson (Amazon / Book Depository) “You know, for a world that demands direction, I certainly have none. Will I be a teacher? Will I go to France?”  An excerpt from law student Jane Mixer’s … Continue reading Jane’s Life in Poetry, Through The Eyes of Her Niece

The Life-Saving Magic of Poetry

Book review: Poetry Will Save Your Life, by Jill Bialosky “All poems become, to a certain degree, personal to a reader.” Poet, editor, and novelist Jill Bialosky writes a memoir structured around the poems that have helped her through life, imbuing it with deeper meaning and giving subtle guidance and reassurances through turmoil and joy. Sometimes they act as markers, anchoring her memory to a place or event. … Continue reading The Life-Saving Magic of Poetry

Essays from the Outdoors

Book review: Upstream, by Mary Oliver (Amazon / Book Depository) ‘Come with me into the field of sunflowers’ is a better line than anything you will find here, and the sunflowers themselves far more wonderful than any words about them. Quoting herself, renowned and much-loved poet Mary Oliver opens this collection of essays about nature and our connection to it, need for it, what it can teach us … Continue reading Essays from the Outdoors