Ron Slate's blog

on One Toss of the Dice by R. Howard Bloch (Liveright / W.W. Norton)

On the death of Stéphane Mallarmé in 1898, 22-year old Paul Valéry wrote an homage to the poet who had pointed the way to new possibilities for poetry. “Je sera la tombe de ton ombre pensive,” he wrote, “I will be the tomb of your pensive shadow.” Fifty-one years later at age 73, a year before he died, Valéry was still extolling his master in an essay published in 1944.

on Poetry by Amanda Nadelberg and Ruth Ellen Kocher

Songs From a Mountain by Amanda Nadelberg (Coffee House Press)
Third Voice by Ruth Ellen Kocher (Tupelo Press)

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on The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art, by Sebastian Smee (Random House)

I was going to begin by saying that if you are a writer or artist, it is impossible to read Sebastian Smee’s The Art of Rivalry without reflecting on your professional antagonisms. But of course in any profession, especially among its innovators, there is always competition, scorekeeping, come-uppance, and counterattack.

on Memoirs of a Polar Bear, a novel by Yoko Tawada, trans. by Susan Bernofsky (New Directions)

In 2002, a collection of stories by Yoko Tawada called Überseezungen was published in Germany. The term was coined by Tawada from the words Übersee (“overseas”) and Zungen (“tongues”).

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