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PEN America Blog

December 19, 2014

Set in Normandy during the Occupation, The Kites is a love story that draws on Gary's own experience of World War II. Published shortly before Gary's suicide, in 1980, this is the haunting last work by one of the great novelists of the twentieth century.

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December 18, 2014

dear son don’t flinch / when he comes for you // singing through my brain my face // lure you wait / shadows flat under the operating lights // scissor to flower to bone

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December 17, 2014

“In other words, know your customer,” she says. Customer. This word is the last straw. I can't keep my hand down any longer. As if it’s not enough that I raise it, I wave it like an eager child. “Students are not customers.”

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December 16, 2014

"I don't find the skill to be in writing or even in reading. The real skill is being a human being, weighing that, contemplating its arcs and depths, and then making it all for better or worse sing."

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December 12, 2014

"For Baranda, narration is not of social relations but of the essential. Her cry is resoundingly of sea, sponge, ant, and prayer, as related in rapture. It’s for her epic sweep and verbal fire that I selected her recent long poem for translation."

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December 12, 2014

One of the leading Mexican poets of the generation born in the 1960s and a powerful presence in all of Latin American poetry, Baranda is best known for her sweeping and incisive long poems. In this translation, Hoover deftly captures the drama of her cadences.

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December 10, 2014

The MCSM RamPage, which Carol Cooper helped to edit, is nominated for a Newsie. In other parts of NYC, Writers in the Schools volunteers work with students from around the world.

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December 10, 2014

What more is there to say about tambourines / that mimic the bells on a leather saddle, strapped / to a horse you rode across the Chinese tundra / or rode over a dune into the sand sea below / the line between noise and music is inside you / like a moving shadow on the face of a clock

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December 9, 2014

"But in this case I was writing about people crossing the border, dying in the desert or living in fear, undocumented in Boyle Heights, and it was inspired by real families and actual events. I worried that this story wasn’t mine to write."

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December 9, 2014

But then there are daughters who become mothers, confusing the story because as mothers they remain, by definition, also daughters. How do they know which they are?

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