Search the Site

Blog / Colloquies


in honor of garlic cloves. . .

- By Sabine Broeck

(Jules Chametzky. Photo by Jerome Liebling, courtesy of Rachel Liebling)

in honor of garlic cloves
baked whole
in rosemary olive oil


that eating together could be
an art
which Americans have perfected

that auld lang syne could come in versions unexpected

that canons are what you make of them

that living in generations brings gracefulness to life

that wisdom does not intimidate

that skin is in the eye of the beholder

that one Jew was personally against the murder
of Jesus, German killing fields, Palestinian revenge and
Zionist “Landnahme” –
all in one breath

that jokes may be sophisticated

that a parent must not be biological



My American Father

- By Ilan Stavans

(Jules Chametzky. Photo by Ned Gray)

Just a couple of days after I arrived to Amherst, Jules Chametzky called to invite me for lunch. My wife and oldest son (the youngest was born three years later) were still in New York. The following day, we met at a local restaurant. Right away, he greeted me in Yiddish, my childhood language. Still a stranger in a new place, that instantly made me feel rooted.

I remember loving his Brooklyn accent from the start. It felt zaftig. It was unlike the Yiddish I had grown up with in Mexico, more earthly. We talked about Abraham Cahan, Anzia Yezierska, Israel Joshua and Isaac Bashevis Singer, and I forget what else. And about family, of course: where our respective ancestors had come from, what year they had immigrated, to where, and so on....


Autumn Journal on Autumn Journal: 23-24

- By Michael Thurston

Read Parts 20-22 here

“Now I must make amends.”

It is often said (when people are talking of the “Auden group,” those poets who came to prominence with Auden in the Thirties) that MacNeice was the collective’s resident skeptic. Others, you will hear—from Samuel Hynes in his book, The Auden Generation, from Edna Longley in her study of MacNeice, from Robyn Marsack and Beret Strong and Peter MacDonald in chapters on MacNeice, even from Seamus Perry and Mark Ford in their recent London Review of Books podcast episode on MacNeice—flirted with political commitment (Stephen Spender is usually singled out as the most gung-ho enthusiast for movements, but...


Autumn Journal on Autumn Journal: 20-22

- By Michael Thurston

(Photo: Christmas Rose, Helleborus x hybridus, Winter Jewels “Jade Tiger,” White Flower Farm)

Read Part 19 here

“So much for Christmas”

Vita brevis, ars longa. The week before Christmas finds MacNeice in London’s National Gallery. Outside, movement continues and suggests ephemerality. Inside, “Other worlds persist,” caught and elevated to significance by the artists’ attention, by the achievements of form.

Last March, sensing how things were going and that museum doors would soon be shut, I stole an hour between meetings to duck into the Smith...

Join the email list for our latest news