"On the Seawall" - Ron Slate's Blog

on Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History, by Camille T. Dungy (W.W. Norton)

“I can count seven women writers who told me that having a family cost them at least one book,” writes the poet Camille Dungy, “because of the ways they had to reorganize their lives to accommodate having children.” Dungy was clearly determined not to be the eighth.

on Primer, poems by Aaron Smith (University of Pittsburgh Press)

I first encountered Yeats’ essay “A General Introduction for My Work” while working towards my writing degree. The essay appeared in 1937 just two years before Yeats died. As a young person hoping to be called a poet, I wanted to express my various distresses.

on The Tongue of Adam by Abdelfattah Kilito, tr. by Robyn Creswell (New Directions)

In her foreword to The Tongue of Adam, Marina Warner notes that Abdelfattah Kilito has long been known for “his strong love of the literature of astonishment (aj’aib) and his own taste for what is called gharaba, strangeness.” Born in Rabat in 1945, Kilito was educated in the language of his colonizers and taught to esteem European culture.

on Paris Portraits: 1925-1930 by Berenice Abbott, ed. by Ron Kurtz & Han O’Neal (Steidl)

In 1918 at age 20, Berenice Abbott borrowed twenty dollars for a train ticket from Springfield, Ohio to Manhattan. She enrolled at the Columbia School of Journalism and dropped out after one week. Sculpture, she decided, would be her métier. “I was scared of New York, scared of America,” she wrote later. “I wasn’t commercial.

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