Book Recommendations: Robert Hass and Czeslaw Milosz

Today’s book recommendations are a strike against social isolation. This week I found myself reading my way into community by exploring the new book, Summer Snow, by former Poet Laureate Robert Hass alongside an older collection, Unattainable Earth, by the inimitable Czeslaw Milosz.
 
 
Hass worked with Milosz to translate many of the poems in Unattainable Earth, and so that is one way I see community and communion at play in these collections. The long, stunning poem by Hass (from Summer Snow), is an imagining of a conversation between the two poets. I love thinking about how writers think about each other’s lives and minds.
 
 
Milosz himself made a point of creating such communion in Unattainable Earth. In the original Polish version of the book, Milosz translated English-language poems into Polish. In the American version of the book, in which Milosz’s own work is what we receive in translation, Milosz’s poems sit alongside English-language masterpieces by poets such as D. H. Lawrence and Walt Whitman. 
 
 
Just because we’re staying at home doesn’t mean we can’t hang out together. I am grateful to Hass and Milosz for these examples of what happens when poets talk, think, translate, share, and imagine a world together, across continents and centuries and collections.

Camille contributes to the “The Quarantine Files” for the Los Angeles Review of Books

“Last winter, I hardly left the house because it was dangerously cold outside. Sheets of thin ice covered walkways. People — worried about landing in the hospital — hardly socialized for months. There was the winter I fretted about friends and family suffering from conditions over which they and their medical teams had little control. That was the same winter my concerns flared for friends who were foreign nationals. Would my country — whose leadership had proven hostile on countless occasions — directly or indirectly take actions that might cause my friends harm? There was the winter I mourned the direction my nation had taken the past fall. The policies of the new government — and those backing the new government — no longer seemed to have the best interest of the majority of people in mind.”

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Camille is one of the featured Climate Visionaries on the Greenpeace website

As we begin this critical new year in the fight against climate change, Greenpeace is giving over space on our channels to authors and artists working within the climate crisis. Acclaimed author Lauren Groff prompted artists and thinkers to write essays and art about climate change for us, and so every day this month we’ll have a new piece from that project that addresses, in some form, what it means to create in the midst of this crisis. The forces fueling climate change have the most powerful networks in history pumping out their devastating propaganda at unimaginable scale. It’s going to take everything we have from all of us – imagination equal to the task – to create the climate we’ll need to stop the crisis.

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We need these voices and these visions, but they won’t be enough. We need you, too. We encourage you to check back on the Climate Visionaries Artists’ Project every day to see what’s new, and to join the conversation by sharing your work on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and tagging it #ClimateVisionaries.”

 

Read more here.

Guidebook to Relative Strangers is featured in “10 Powerful Reads That Explore Modern Femininity”

“An eloquent exploration of the intersection between motherhood and racial identity, Dungy’s collection of essays illuminates the experience of being a black woman raising a young daughter. As the poet-author travels the world, touching down in a range of locations including Virginia, California, and Ghana, she digs into the history of American racism and offers maternally-informed guidance for negotiating its legacy.” Check out the list here!