Apparently, great books can be life changing: British prisons have begun using a literature course originally developed in the US and including Shakespeare, Dickens, and Steinbeck to help rehabilitate criminals.
David Satter’s It Was a Long Time Ago and It Never Happened Anyway gets reviewed for The Daily Beast. The book is a “sweeping study of how the former Soviet Union’s bloody past continues to poison Russia’s present and threatens to strangle the country’s future.”
Yesterday marked eight years since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti and a few days ago Trump put the country back in the news (but not in an reflective or uplifting way). Looking to learn more about Haiti sans racist rhetoric? The New York Times has “three books by Haitian writers that provide insight into the country’s history of struggle and resistance.” Find the list here.
Having kicked off his career with a book of poetry, it’s not surprising that Ben Lerner is interested in the late Johns Hopkins professor Allen Grossman, who theorized that people dislike poetry because poems are — by definition — failures. In a piece for the LRB, he runs through the implications of Grossman’s theory, touching on poets as disparate as Shakespeare and William McGonagall. Pair with Kate Angus on why Americans don’t buy poetry books.