Poetry Madness


Tuesday, August 21st


Poiret by Harold Koda

The King Is Dead

A review by Lynn Yaeger

This past summer, on a perfect afternoon, I stopped by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to gaze with intense desire at a 1911 Paul Poiret evening coat made of printed velvet designed by Raoul Dufy and featuring humongous sleeves and a turquoise lining still vibrant nearly 100 years on. I am a notorious overdresser, and on this particular day I was wearing a black silk chiffon smock over a Liberty of London petticoat along with a pair of scarlet leggings and bronze dance slippers, an ensemble that would have made Poiret blush with pleasure. All around me swirled other visitors, most dressed in jeans and T-shirts, some even unashamedly sporting that contemporary badge of sartorial inelegance, the water bottle. They may have been looking with appreciation at the Poiret creations on display -- his cylindrical gold-metallic "Irudree" evening dress with its queer puffy roll around the hips, his ankle-length mauve-and-gold "day" dress (what a day that must have been), his famous "sorbet...

Who Will Write Our History?: Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archive (Helen and Martin Schwartz Lectures in Jewish Studies) by Samuel D. Kassow

What We Know About Murdered Peoples

A review by Peter N. Miller


This may well be the most important book about history that anyone will ever read. It is also a very important book of history, telling the story of an extraordinary research project in the Warsaw Ghetto between 1940 and 1943. As a tale about why doing history matters, Samuel D. Kassow's book has few equals in our collective record. Marc Bloch, arrested by Klaus Barbie's henchmen and executed in 1944, has become the martyr/saint of modern history, and his book The Historian's Craft, left incomplete and published posthumously, has emerged as our time's classic work on the meaning of...

Shining at the Bottom of the Sea by Stephen Marche

O Pamphleteers!

A review by Rod Smith

Stephen Marche demanded much of Raymond and Hannah's titular characters, and got it. Spectacularly together just six days before fate wrenches them 6,000 miles apart, the couple finds their newly-mismatched paradigms make for lousy long-distance pillow talk: she's immersed in Torah school in Jerusalem, while back in Toronto, he's wrestling with a doctoral dissertation on Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. Still, they struggle valiantly to keep their flame afloat, mostly electronically, and with considerable charm.

In his second novel, the Canadian experimentalist -- now living in...

Letters to a Young Teacher by Jonathan Kozol

Tales Out of School

A review by Sandra Tsing Loh

I am a longtime, rabid fan of Jonathan Kozol. Yea, I could show you my tower of dog-eared Kozolalia: The Shame of the Nation, Savage Inequalities, Prisoners of Silence, Illiterate America. In my mind, Kozol's titles appear all in caps, like flaming Hebraic letters on the side of a monument. I am the sort of impressionable woman whose eyes seep tears while reading his heartrending descriptions of racial inequity in public education. Kozol doesn't just decry what he sees as the pre-civil-rights-South level of segregation that persists to this day, the percentage of African American children ...

What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat by Louise Richardson

To Fight Terrorism, You Must Know Your Enemy

A review by Peter Grier

The United States can't win a war on terrorism, any more than it could win a war against armed robbery or tornadoes. What it can do is contain the threat to the nation caused by a specific group of terrorists: Islamist radicals.

To do so, it must strive to understand Al Qaeda and its ilk, and try to isolate them from communities which now give them tacit support. And it needs to have patience: Terrorist groups, even damaged ones, don't wither away quickly.

In brief, these are among the main conclusions of Louise Richardson's concise and illuminating new book What Terrorists Want...

Well-Built City Trilogy #01: The Physiognomy by Jeffrey Ford

Quantum Fantasies

A review by Kelly Everding

Thoughts are things. Thoughts create things. Quantum physics proves the power the observer has over what he or she observes, how just witnessing an event helps to create that event. And it is hard to distinguish reality from how we perceive reality, a dizzying rabbit-hole adventure we must shrug off everyday in order to just make it through to the next. Not so in the world of Jeffrey Ford's Well-Built City Trilogy, where manifestations of consciousness and sub-consciousness have equal footing and dream logic holds sway. A deft and enormously entertaining storyteller, Ford walks the fine line...

Lost Light by Michael Connelly

A review by Georgie Lewis

In his ninth Harry Bosch novel, Lost Light, Michael Connelly takes us closer to his protagonist than ever before by allowing Bosch to narrate in first person. Readers who were left aghast at the close of City of Bones get their chance to catch up on Bosch from the other side of the fence, seeing life directly through Bosch's eyes as he continues his battles against crime and corruption, this time without an LAPD badge.

Bosch receives a call from Lawton Cross, an ex-cop paralyzed during an investigation into the murder of Angella Benton, a case that Bosch opened and Cross took over before...

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