Ron Slate's blog

on On Eloquence, by Denis Donoghue (Yale University Press)

The term “eloquence” doesn’t offer much utility to literary critics these days.

on Earthly, poems by Erica Funkhouser (Houghton Mifflin)

Asked why he wrote so few poems, William Meredith replied that “poetry and experience should have an exact ratio … Daily experience is astonishing on a level at which you can write a poem, but astonishing experience would be the experience which is not astonishment of reality but astonishment of insight.” Since the insights are rare, so are insightful poems.

on The Baseball Field at Night, last poems by Patricia Goedicke (Lost Horses Press)

When I finally met Patricia Goedicke in 1982 after several years of correspondence, she had already been dealing with breast cancer for five years. She was exactly one year and a day younger than my mother, and there she sat at a table in a Cambridge restaurant, provoking and teasing, wanting to know everything, praising, laughing, a little flirty.

on About My Life and the Kept Woman, a memoir by John Rechy (Grove Press)

The power and deceptions of identities, perceived and assumed, have long been preoccupations of John Rechy. Born in El Paso in 1934, he grew up in a segregated city where Latino families lived on one side of the tracks. His mother was Mexican.

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