from A Greener Meadow, selected poems by Luciano Erba, tr. by Peter Robinson (Princeton University Press)

[“Il Pubblico e Il Privato”]

April came inside with the blackbird
whistling above washing lines
wind came into the city and went
over yellower fields, below bridges
of iron, like the gambling flight
of a first aviator’s biplane.
On parapets of the overpass
where men in blue have fixed
some long cement boxes to plant

on Do You Believe?: Conversations on God and Religion, by Antonio Monda (Vintage)

Literary people have long provided the most moving, entertaining, and unconventional views of institutionalized religion. Voltaire, famously: “Religion is the source of all imaginable follies and disturbances; it is the parent of fanaticism and civil discord; it is the enemy of mankind.”

on Hold Everything Dear, essays by John Berger (Pantheon)

In his first novel A Painter of Our Time (1959), John Berger wrote, “We today pause to reflect on whether our severity may be made more severe; and in every one of those pauses the artist faces the same difficulty – it is the difficulty that unites us – the difficulty of making the intangible tangible, of creating a cold form to contain our fervent content.

on Poets and Philosophers: “Bad Blood,” an essay by Leonard Michaels

Commenting in the LA Times on the 2007 publication of The Collected Stories of Leonard Michaels, Lynell George said, “What's still most hypnotizing about Michaels' work isn't just the circumstances of characters coming together or the shock of their collisions; it's also the thrumming violence that occupies a space so close to love.” I was reminded that in 1978 we published

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