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on The Gift by Lewis Hyde (Vintage Books, 25th anniversary edition)

I received my copy of The Gift as a gift from a poet friend, David Clewell, in 1983. Poets have been passing the book around for 25 years for two main reasons. First, there is the book's advocacy for the creative economy, the notion that the gift of art (“no effort in the world can cause its initial appearance”) flows between us as an energizing, mysterious force.

on "Constantine’s Sword," a film by James Carroll and Oren Jacoby (Storyville Films)

My mother and maternal grandparents were Jewish holocaust survivors, repetitive in their reminiscences. I grew up with knowledge that the world is visited by pervasive terror. The survivors are fated to live with a looming story. This world-quality extended into my adulthood.

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

THE PUBLIC AND THE PRIVATE
[“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.”

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