Category: Los Angeles

  • The Verb To Inquire

    The Verb To Inquire

    Every Friday afternoon, I have been tutoring a fourth grader named Delilah, whom I view through a screen on Zoom. During the pandemic, Delilah’s school is the bedroom she shares with her two brothers. Her desk is her bunk bed.  The family rarely goes out. Her mother quit her job to monitor the three kids’ […]

  • The Collaborative Skein: A Conversation

    The Collaborative Skein: A Conversation

    The poet Piotr Florczyk just published a remarkable collections of poems, From the Annals of Krakow, based on testimonies from Jewish survivors from his home town, Krakow, in the Shoah Archive at USC, where he Piotr did a residency. This conversation between the two of us, about Piotr’s book, about the forthcoming Polish edition of  […]

  • Unclaimed, Unforgotten

    Unclaimed, Unforgotten
  • Resister in Sanctuary: We Won’t Go

    In one glass case, what first draws my eye is a REMEMBER JOE MAIZLISH bumper sticker identical to the one I affixed to the bumper of my dad’s Ford Mustang in 1968. Yes, I do remember Joe Maizlish. Decades ago, I wrote to him in while he was in federal prison, where he served two […]

  • “Happiness is Bullshit” Celebration of the Life of Judge Harry Pregerson

    I never got a chance to meet the legendary Judge Harry Pregerson, who served over fifty years on the Ninth Circuit federal court in California (stepping down at age 92) and died last month at age 94. When I got word of his Dec 1 memorial at the Shrine, I decided to make Harry’s posthumous […]

  • Dreaming in Russian

    [drawing: Vlada Ralko] News from Ukraine trickles into my weekend haven in Ojai Valley. I peel an orange fresh from the tree, exulting in the scent. A woman in Maidan grates beets for borscht for weary protesters, her fingers stained blood red. The crisis keeps Russia in the headlines and the nerves on alert. It’s […]

  • Being Heard

    It’s been an emotional and gratifying week, giving my first book talk on The Crooked Mirror, being interviewed by the wonderful Jack Miles at ALOUD (video, podcast to be posted soon) and receiving two deeply thoughtful and beautifully written reviews– one by poet Piotr Florzck in the Los Angeles Review of Books (and thank God […]

  • A Translator Remains Faithful

    As a tribute to my dear colleague Michael Henry Heim, I post an article I wrote about him for the Los Angeles Times, which appeared 10 years ago to the day of his passing on Sept 30, 2012. Michael was a world-renowned translator, a passionate advocate for literature, an inspired teacher, and a generous friend […]

  • My English Teacher: Lorraine Schulmeister (1918-2012), In Memoriam

    (This piece is part of an ongoing series of writers’ profiles of influential teachers published July 10, 2012 in the Los Angeles Review of Books.) An autumn afternoon on the sunny Great Lawn at Westlake School for Girls. Lorraine Schulmeister, my English teacher, and I read aloud from Emily Dickinson: “I dared not meet the […]

  • Woke Into Heron

    (heron dream drawing by Beth Thielen, c. 2012) Matilija poppies are blooming along the L.A. River… bright yellow and white, like fried eggs. I’m grateful to have an hour to ride my bike in what’s left of the morning overcast, to let my thoughts whir with my wheels while I inhale the unique salvia-sewage tang […]