Ron Slate's blog

on "Constantine’s Sword," a film by James Carroll and Oren Jacoby (Storyville Films)

My mother and maternal grandparents were Jewish holocaust survivors, repetitive in their reminiscences. I grew up with knowledge that the world is visited by pervasive terror. The survivors are fated to live with a looming story. This world-quality extended into my adulthood.

from A Greener Meadow, selected poems by Luciano Erba, tr. by Peter Robinson (Princeton University Press)

[“Il Pubblico e Il Privato”]

April came inside with the blackbird
whistling above washing lines
wind came into the city and went
over yellower fields, below bridges
of iron, like the gambling flight
of a first aviator’s biplane.
On parapets of the overpass
where men in blue have fixed
some long cement boxes to plant

on Do You Believe?: Conversations on God and Religion, by Antonio Monda (Vintage)

Literary people have long provided the most moving, entertaining, and unconventional views of institutionalized religion. Voltaire, famously: “Religion is the source of all imaginable follies and disturbances; it is the parent of fanaticism and civil discord; it is the enemy of mankind.”

on Hold Everything Dear, essays by John Berger (Pantheon)

In his first novel A Painter of Our Time (1959), John Berger wrote, “We today pause to reflect on whether our severity may be made more severe; and in every one of those pauses the artist faces the same difficulty – it is the difficulty that unites us – the difficulty of making the intangible tangible, of creating a cold form to contain our fervent content.

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