Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.
She had a blunt bold fist of a face.
"Probate" from Sourland by Joyce Carol Oates
“I can’t think of a more important conversation to be having....War is too strange to be processed alone.”
Ugly and bleak? Well, maybe,Lahey also scratched beneath the copper-rich surface of Butte, but what he found was less beautiful than Braley’s greeting-card vision.
But my eyes have learned to find
The beauty of truth, not substance,
The beauty that lies behind.
MISSOULA – Edward Thomas Lahey was born in Butte on July 8, 1936, to Edward and Frances Lahey, and grew up in a successful and colorful mining family, the youngest of two. He died on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, in Missoula....After achieving a Master of Arts in English from the University of Montana, Ed went on to teach American literature (and was a member of Richard Hugo’s poetry workshop). He left teaching in the late 1960s, and devoted the remainder of his life to his work. His first book of poetry, The Blind Horses, won the first Montana Arts Council First Book Award in 1979. Clark City Press published a complete collection of Ed’s poetry, Birds of a Feather in 2005. In 2008, he received the Montana Arts Council Governor’s Arts award for his lifetime work. Later in 2008, his semi-fictional memoir, The Thin Air Gang was published.
Topside,The mine doesn’t care. It has callous disregard for its workers. They are meat in its machine. Lahey knew this, he lived it, and he wrote sympathetically of those who were caught in the cogs—both literal and metaphoric. As his poem “In My Three Act Dream” tells us, “payday’s just a shack / at the edge of the great pit’s lip.”
a bull gear caught Haggerty’s hand,
slick iron on a wet day.
I heard him speak to it.
“Whoa,” he said.
It cut his hand off anyway.
Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment—to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries?As Kanon notes in the trailer, “Occupied Berlin was a city made for spies,” and complicated, haunted cities like this were made for kind, smart, engaging raconteurs like Kanon. I'm putting Leaving Berlin near the top of my 2015 reading list. I think I'll pair it with a glass of Riesling and a shrimp crostini with mango salsa in honor of our brief encounter in Palm Springs.