Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction

The better of brief literary memoirs, essays, and reflections, lots of that have been written expressly for this assortment. additionally available The past due Judith Kitchen, editor of the perennially renowned anthologies Short Takes, In Short, and In Brief, used to be significantly influential in spotting and setting up flash inventive nonfiction as a kind in its personal correct. In Brief Encounters, she and writer/editor/actor Dinah Lenney extend this brilliant box with approximately 80 new decisions: shorts―as those sharply concentrated items have turn out to be known― representing a magnificent variety of voices, views, sensibilities, and varieties. Brief Encounters positive factors the paintings of the rising and the established―including Stuart Dybek, Roxanne homosexual, Eduardo Galeano, Leslie Jamison, and Julian Barnes―arranged through topic to discover the human situation in methods intimate, idiosyncratic, humorous, unhappy, provocative, lyrical, unflinching. From the rant to the rave, the meditation to the polemic, the confession to the valediction, this selection of shorts―this party of real and vibrant prose―will magnify your global.

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1140 This page intentionally left blank 23 DUNASH BEN LABRAT (mid-tenth century) By all accounts the founder of the new Andalusian Hebrew poetry, Dunash Ben Labrat reimagined the very nature of Hebrew verse and, with that conceptual and tactile shift, brought about a revolution in Jewish letters and the world onto which they open. Just how and why he did that remains something of a mystery, as we have little more than an outline of his life. Born in the first third of the tenth century in Fez, Morocco (the name Dunash is Berber in origin), he traveled to Baghdad in his youth in order to study with the greatest scholar of his day, Sa‘adia Gaon (d.

And loosen the bands of these worthless men. Let day dawn on your judgment’s order. Grant strength to one who has done no wrong but is hounded. Help him, [Lord,] find shelter. Bring your power to the aid of a man pursuing goodness, as the godless gather. I weep—and the tears on my cheeks stream with blood. And grief has made me bitter. HYMN FOR THE NEW YEAR Who established the heights of heaven then set out glowing orbs? Who will tell of all He’s done, and who is greater than the Lord?

The poem’s heading in manuscript explains that it was composed on the occasion of her husband’s forced departure from Spain. The reasons for his leaving remain obscure, but the last line of the poem suggests that he fell out of favor with Hasdai Ibn Shaprut, the leader of Spanish Jewry and patron of the local Hebrew revival. Apart from these lines and the crisis they treat, we know nothing about the poet, not even her name. That said, the poem’s restraint and quiet dignity, along with its tenderness and subtle complication of tone—melding affection, resentment, and above all a sense of acceptance of what seems to be a tragic fate—speak for her character.

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