Radiant Lyre, Essays on Lyric Poetry, edited by David Baker & Ann Townsend (Graywolf Press)

In Journal of the Fictive Life, Howard Nemerov took a shot across the bow of lyric poetry, reminding poets of the skills required to avoid slipping into affectation.

A Guide to Philosophy in Six Hours and Fifteen Minutes, by Witold Gombrowicz, translated by Benjamin Ivry (Yale Univ Press)

Just before he died in 1969, Gombrowicz drafted this remarkable romp through European philosophy as a series of terse “lessons” for his wife Rita. The line of thought runs from Kant, Schopenhauer, Hegel, Husserl and Kierkegaard through Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre, with a final flourish on Marx. “Philosophy is needed for a global view of culture. It is important for writers,” he says.

Like Wind, Like Wave, essays by Stefano Bolognini, translated by Malcolm Garfield (Other Press)

Bolognini’s book of genial essays on psychoanalytic study is subtitled “Fables from the Land of the Repressed.” Unlike the dynamic, multi-layered, and often literary essays of the psychologist Adam Phillips, Bolognini’s work is based on simple or extended anecdote and reflection.

A Tranquil Star, stories by Primo Levi, translated by Ann Goldstein and Alessandra Bastagli (Norton)

With his two memoirs of Auschwitz, Survival in Auschwitz and The Reawakening, Primo Levi (1919-1987) earned his reputation as the greatest writer of the Holocaust.

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