Ron Slate's blog

on The Safe House, a novel by Christophe Boltanski, translated by Laura Marris (University of Chicago Press)

In Paris, the term hôtel particulier describes a grand residence with an interior courtyard, often owned by nobility from the countryside who would stay there while visiting the city. Many of these “townhouses” were constructed in the 1600’s.

on Transatlantic Aliens: Modernism, Exile, and Culture in Midcentury America by Will Norman (Johns Hopkins University Press)

In The Impossible Exile, his biography of Stefan Zweig’s final decade, George Prochnik asks, “What makes a good exile? Is there a calculable equation of inner fortitude, openness of mind, and external networks that determines a refugee’s odds of survival?

on Attention Equals Life: The Pursuit of the Everyday in Contemporary Poetry and Culture by Andrew Epstein (Oxford Univ Press)

“I am less interested in talking about the aesthetics of the ordinary than participating in the fight for the ordinary,” proclaims Charles Bernstein in The Attack of the Difficult Poems. Are there any poets today who would not profess a loyalty to the ordinary?

on Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History, by Camille T. Dungy (W.W. Norton)

“I can count seven women writers who told me that having a family cost them at least one book,” writes the poet Camille Dungy, “because of the ways they had to reorganize their lives to accommodate having children.” Dungy was clearly determined not to be the eighth.

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