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Märzen Madness and Florida Festbier

- By Marsha Bryant

Limericks for Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest beckons anew
With festivities, hullabaloo.
I’ll parse Märzens for you
So you’ll know what to do
At your bottle shop picking out brew.

If you can’t fly to Munich, don’t worry—
American brewers have scurried
To release in due season
The beer lover’s reason
For drinking outdoors before flurries.

When it’s Autumn and weather behaves,
Tis the malts that the beer lover craves.
Don’t put pumpkin in beer!
(That’s for baked goods, my dear.)
Märzen madness tastes good, not depraved.

I’ve a trio of them that I tried,
Independents that I verified—
Ranging sweeter to...


Last Summer of the City

- By John Gu

A Review of Gianfranco Calligarich's Last Summer in the City, Transl. Howard Curtis; Foreword by André Aciman (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2021)

Is there a more fertile experience for literary aspirants than to be poor in a great city? Every generation of young would-be novelists searches for their own version of the Lost Generation’s Left Bank in Paris, and a few are lucky enough to find it. Around the year 1970, a young Milanese journalist named Gianfranco Calligarich came to Rome on an assignment for a Milanese newspaper. After his assignment ended, he decided to stay in the city rather than return to Milan, and one product of this decision was a novel, L'ultima...

After Us

Deus ex machina

- By Jim Hicks

Who’s to say just what it is that inspires a reader? To my mind, the writer who answers this question with the most force and clarity is Erri De Luca. But then, I would think that, since I translate him. Here’s what Erri says:

"For those who stumble into a serendipitous reciprocity between life and reading, literature works at the level of nerve fibers. You can’t book such appointments in advance, nor can you recommend them to others. Every reader deserves to be astonished by the sudden interplay between his days and the pages of a book."

I like this quote on several levels, but mainly because in my experience it’s true. The connection between life and literature, when it happens, is electric, and it sings the...


Literature Doesn’t Stop at the Unspeakable

- By Michael Rothberg

(Cover design by Deste Roosa; cover art by Judith Wolfe, detail from Dans la Lumière de Glace 1, from the series Hommage à Charlotte Delbo, 2013.)

A Review of Ghislaine Dunant, Charlotte Delbo: A Life Reclaimed, translation and introduction by Kathryn Lachman (Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2021).

The work of Charlotte Delbo has accompanied my thinking and teaching about the Holocaust for the last twenty-five years. Her trilogy Auschwitz and After counts among the most searing responses to the Nazi camps that have appeared in any language, and her late work Days and Memory contains some of...


The Murakami of Our Times

- By Z.L. Nickels

A Review of Haruki Murakami's First Person Singular. Transl. Philip Gabriel (Knopf, 2021)

The most significant story I have ever read was a Murakami story. I cannot say which one, only that it appears in the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. Consider this withholding a sacrament in the name of preservation: once you admit what is most important to you, you have committed an indelible act. I am not willing to surrender myself in this way. I have come too far (and taken far too long) to give up the ghost of the writer I wish to one day be. To relinquish this possibility would require my being fully convinced of myself. It would require being Haruki...

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