Author Archive

The Re-Release of Jean Toomer’s Cane

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The image, from “Blood-Burning Moon,” of cane becoming only more pungent and pervasive after being burned (“the scent of cane came from the copper pan and drenched the forest and the hill that sloped to factory town”) is a fitting metaphor for Toomer’s legacy.

What It Means To Say Goodbye to a Language

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Vladimir Nabokov wrote English prose so piercing and pristine we forget the language was not his natural idiom. In leaving his native Russian behind, to find new readers and paying publishers, he gave up not just a language, but also the warm familiarity of cultural shorthand and common referents