July 15, 2009

The date's a sentence that can be parsed: pattern, symmetry, sequence. Can I parse the sky this morning, its complex syntax of cirrocumulus suggestions? The sunlight's breaking, broken. Light on the hills is thinner than yesterday's illumination. The flooding creek is still out of its banks, but lower. An impulse to measure, mark: the river the rain the times of sunrise sunset. I don't know how to take in the fact that we are at war: overreaching, aggressor, outlaw. In the garden snowdrops and trash, hyacinth heads pushing up like green tops of wooden newels, elaborately carved.

Autonomy Amuck
July 01, 2009

Long regarded as central to the contemporary understanding of medical ethics are four principles that must be satisfied in order to fulfill the requirements of moral decision-making.

The Binding of Isaac
July 01, 2009

Rosenfeld's Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing By Steven J. Zipperstein (Yale University Press, 274 pp., $27.50) 'Zetland: By a Character Witness" may not be the best fifteen pages that Saul Bellow wrote, but it is surely the most concentratedly, turbulently Bellovian. "Yes, I knew the guy," the story begins. "We were boys in Chicago.

July: Gile Mountain
July 01, 2009

Even that current rapid in the brainlike a digital signal cheeping "wherewhere where..." damps down in the broil of noon. Below, the ponds and metal rooftops flareto streaks. And my need, to peel the bright veneerfrom the world, and walk inside, and feel my life crucial as plotline... seems to disappear.The aspens sizzle. Towers of loosestrifeshiver with flies.

The Evil That Men Do
July 01, 2009

Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918By Grigoris Balakian, translated by Peter Balakian with Aris Sevag(Knopf, 509 pp., $35) Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity, and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1912-1923By Ryan Gingeras(Oxford University Press, 272 pp., $99) My Grandmother: A MemoirBy Fethiye Cetin(Verso, 114 pp., $21.95) On the morning of March 15, 1921, a thick-set man wearing a heavy overcoat was walking down Hardenbergstrasse in the Berlin suburb of Charlottenburg when he was shot at point-blank range in the back of the head, and died immediately in a bloody

Life As A Poem
July 01, 2009

Songbook: The Selected Poems Of Umberto Saba Translated by George Hochfield and Leonard Nathan (Yale University Press, 562 pp., $35) Umberto Saba, a poet of mysterious and difficult simplicity, has been ushered back into English. The translation of poetry is never easy, but Saba presents particular challenges.

Revolutionary Manners
July 01, 2009

The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the ConstitutionBy Eric Slauter(University of Chicago Press, 373 pp., $40)Over the past two decades or so, sixty-nine countries--from the nations of post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, to South Africa, to Afghanistan and Iraq--have drafted constitutions. At the same time many other states have revised their constitutions on paper, and even the European Union has tried to get a constitution ratified. Consequently, only a few states in the world are without written constitutions.

Pleasure Harvest
July 01, 2009

When she took a position in a distant city he knew He could not follow and in the months afterwards he built Them a home where she was still with him even Though they never lived together. Mornings they made coffee In this kitchen, washed the berries, read books on the long couch, Their legs touching in some configuration, and one would interrupt The other's reading to make some observation on the art They both practiced.

Negligent Worldicide
June 17, 2009

The bear climbed over the mountain,and what do you think he saw?History raging and ravaging, carving upthe one and only body of the earth,the new century already broken into,ransacked, roads unsafe,war playing in the background,infants crawling on the landfill. The earth was heaven once, and now it's hell.Since it's already begun to embalm itself,let's assume that that these are close toour last words. That's what I meant by urgent. Oh fuck, I'm going to have to take itin my arms again.

Now We Know
June 17, 2009

Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America By John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev (Yale University Press, 637 pp., $35) If one were trying to define the lowest point in the long and venerable tradition of American anti-communism, surely it came in 2003, with the publication of Ann Coulter's Treason.