The Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail’s new book of nonfiction, “The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq,” tells one aspect of this story: the kidnapping and enslavement of Yazidi women by Daesh. More specifically, The Beekeeper is about one man’s efforts to rescue these women through a network that he set up himself.
“The Land Between Two Rivers” calls to mind James Agee’s “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” in that both books were written by “amateurs”—both Sleigh and Agee are/were first and foremost literary writers, yet their books are works of journalism.
One might argue that blackface performances of the thirties and forties (and earlier) are so far in the past and such a product of their time as to be beyond judgment, but I’d disagree. I’d rather assessments of artists be made with knowledge of their warts and all.
Of Silence and Song doesn’t just reward close, attentive reading. In fact, it demands it. Of Silence and Song is a highly lyric book, advancing a series of impressions rather than the march of a central, tightly reasoned argument.
Confessional poetry—particularly work that deals with the end of a relationship—is exceptionally tricky to pull off without coming across as navel-gazing and self-centered. Edith, however, is a remarkable work of pathos, using the inward gaze to illuminate both the self and everything around that self.