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”).

on Am I Alone Here? by Peter Orner (Catapult)

“For a long time I thought reading would somehow make me a better writer,” says Peter Orner, one of our better writers. “Now I see how ludicrous this is. All the glorious Chekhov in thirteen volumes won’t help me write a sentence that breathes. That comes from somewhere else, somewhere out in the world, where mothers die in car accidents and daughters hide the pain.

on Almost Nothing To Be Scared Of, poems by David Clewell (University of Wisconsin Press)

David Clewell has never been hesitant about spelling things out – what he sees, what he loves, how he feels and how we should feel about how he feels. He may be America’s most reliably engaging poet of unabashedly giving a damn. He gives praise and advice. No coyness, no mistaking who’s talking to whom.

on The Crime of Jean Genet by Dominique Eddé, translated by Andrew Rubens and Ros Schwartz (Seagull Books)

The French novelist and activist Dominique Eddé met Jean Genet in 1975 when she was 22 years old and he was 65. They were introduced by the French-Moroccan novelist Tahar Ben Jelloun. Eddé was born in Beirut – and at the moment she met Genet, the Lebanese civil war had just begun.

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