Ron Slate's blog

on Soldier’s Heart by Elizabeth Samet (Farrar Straus Giroux)

Having earned her doctorate in literature from Yale, Elizabeth Samet accepted the best teaching job she could get. “When I told my friends and acquaintances at Yale that I was going to West Point, I got a range of responses, ‘You’ll humanize them,’ said one well-meaning professor, leaving me puzzled. They had seemed pretty human to me,” she writes.

on “Medical Poetry”: Primary Care, an anthology of poems by physicians (Univ of Iowa Press)

Yesterday at a business meeting, I met a board member of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. “Doctors aren’t having fun anymore,” he said. “They’re saying the profession is becoming as standardized and routine as practicing law. The insurance companies want the MD to spend just fifteen minutes with a patient. That’s all he or she gets compensated for.

on Literary Influence: Make Us Wave Back, essays by Michael Collier

Writing about Roethke, William Meredith said, “All the writers who go on concerning us after their deaths are men and women who have escaped from a confused human identity into the identity they willed and consented to.” Our population is a clamor of confused human identities, so having one (or having had one) isn’t a mark of distinction.

On the Poetry of John Allman: Lowcountry

Later this month, New Directions will publish John Allman’s eighth book of poems, Lowcountry. He retired from teaching 10 years ago (for 26 years he taught at Rockland Community College of SUNY) and has spent the past decade’s winters as a non-golf playing resident of Hilton Head, South Carolina. At 72, he continues to evolve as a poet.

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