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Dickinson’s incandescent thinking is everywhere on display, and the makeshift nature of the scraps gives us a vivid idea of what composition must have felt like for a woman whose thoughts raced far ahead of her ability to capture them.Dan Chiasson reviews Emily Dickinson's ENVELOPE POEMS, copublished by Christine Burgin and New Directions, in THE NEW YORKER


December News from New Directions! (Nothing about the election.)


Aira's works are dense, unpredictable confections delivered in a plain, stealthily lyrical style capable of accommodating his fondness for mixing metaphysics, realism, pulp fiction, and Dadaist incongruities. Michael Greenberg, The New York Review of Books





Roger Lewinter's works, both humanly touching and artistically innovative, are spectacularly individual. Obsessively, and in the most incisive detail, they portray some of the crucial events and ideas of his life in prose at once headlong and passionate in its pacing, and tight and cerebral in its articulation.
Lydia Davis





Reading Kilito for me has always been a kind of adventure. We normally speak of writing as an adventure, but Kilito dares his reader to travel with him, on a quest to override the boundaries between reality and fiction, between literary criticism and storytelling.Elias Khoury



Guerriero irrefutably proves that journalism can be one of the beaux arts. Below the light and agile surface that grabs your attention from the first lines, she shows a sureness and a seriousness that confer on her work a powerful consistency.Mario Vargas Llosa





How often, honestly, does the unveiling in translation of a "forgotten genius" live up to the hype? Well here's one that does: Raduan Nassar.The Times Literary Supplement


The Laughter of the Sphinx...manages to cut deep into the unknowable appeal of the best poetry, some of which Palmer can claim to have written.

Flavorwire  on Michael Palmer's The Laughter of the Sphinx

The Ghosts of Birds

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


The Ghosts of Birds offers thirty-five essays by Eliot Weinberger: the first section of the book continues his linked serial-essay An Elemental Thing, which pulls the reader into “a vortex for the entire universe” (Boston Review). Here, Weinberger chronicles a nineteenth-century journey down the Colorado River, records the dreams of people named Chang, and shares other factually verifiable discoveries that seem too fabulous to possibly be true. The second section collects Weinberger’s essays on a wide range of subjects—some of which have been published in the New York Review of Books, and London Review of Books—including his notorious review of George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, and writings about Khubilai Khan, the I Ching, different versions of the Buddha, American Indophilia (“There is a line, however jagged, from pseudo-Hinduism to Malcolm X”), Herbert Read, and Charles Reznikoff. This collection proves once again that Weinberger is “one of the bravest and sharpest minds in the United States” (Javier Marías).


Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei

Nonfiction by Eliot Weinberger


The difficulty (and necessity) of translation is concisely described in Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, a close reading of different translations of a single poem from the Tang Dynasty—from a transliteration to Kenneth Rexroth’s loose interpretation. As Octavio Paz writes in the afterword, “Eliot Weinberger’s commentary on the successive translations of Wang Wei’s little poem illustrates, with succinct clarity, not only the evolution of the art of translation in the modern period but at the same time the changes in poetic sensibility.”


The Hideous Hidden

Poetry by Sylvia Legris


In her first full-length collection published in the United States, Sylvia Legris probes and peels, carves and cleaves, amputates and dissects, to reveal the poetic potential of human and animal anatomy.

Starting with the Greek writings of Hippocrates and the Latin language of medicine, and drawing from Leonardo da Vinci’s Anatomical Manuscripts, the dermatologist Robert Willan’s On Cutaneous Diseases (1808), and Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, Legris infuses each poem with unique rhythms that roll off the tongue. The Hideous Hidden boldly celebrates anatomy’s wonders: “Renounce the vestibule of non-vital vitals. / Confess the gallbladder, / the glandular wallflowers, / the objectionable oblong spleen."


The Laughter of the Sphinx

by Michael Palmer


Michael Palmer’s new book—a collection in two parts, “The Laughter of the Sphinx” and “Still (a cantata—or nada—for Sister Satan)”—contains 52 poems.

The title poem begins “The laughter of the Sphinx / caused my eyes to bleed” and haunts us with the ruin we are making of our world, even as Palmer revels in its incredible beauty. Such central tensions in The Laughter of the Sphinx—between beauty and loss, love and death, motion and rest, knowledge and ignorance—glow in Palmer’s lyrical play of light and entirely hypnotize the reader. The stakes, as always with Palmer, are very high, essentially life and death: “Please favor us with a reply / regarding our one-time offer / which will soon expire.”


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