They Bleed; You Read
Ann Arbor, Mich.
This letter is a prayer and a thank-you—a prayer for the safety of brave reporters everywhere who bring us extraordinarily important news we would otherwise not receive and a thank-you for their courage and intelligence. Specifically, I am thinking of Jeremy Scahill [“Target: Yemen,” March 5/12], with whom I shared a table on the Nation cruise in December. I also send a prayer and a thank-you for the anxieties his family must endure.
It Was 50 Years Ago Today
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Re Calvin Trillin’s March 5/12 deadline poem, “We Pick Rick” (sung to the tune of “I Like Ike”): Oh boy, a reference to a 1956 political song nobody my age or younger knows! And I’m approaching 50! It’s OK, though, Mr. Trillin. I found the song on YouTube and was able to sing along.
Thankful Fir That
Huntington Woods, Mich.
Although Michiganians have lost the right to vote in cities taken over by a private manager [Chris Savage, “State of Emergency,” March 5/12], we have consoled ourselves with the knowledge that our trees are the right height.
Wislawa Szymborska’s Translators
I’m a great admirer of Katha Pollitt, and I took great pleasure in her moving eulogy for Wislawa Szymborska [“Subject to Debate,” March 5/12]. But my pleasure was diminished by the fact that Pollitt didn’t name the translator or translators she is quoting. By their work they have made possible the experience she has had of Szymborska’s poetry, and then our experience of Pollitt’s beautiful tribute.
I am pleased that Katha Pollitt, with whom I am so often in agreement, mourns with the rest of us the death of Wislawa Szymborska. She purports to quote Szymborska’s words, however, as if the Polish poet had written her poems in fluent English. It would perhaps have been more generous—to say nothing of legal—had she acknowledged the accomplished translators, Stanisłav Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh, who made Szymborska’s poetry accessible to her.
New York City
Brecht and Hitler
I was pleasantly surprised to see Paula Findlen’s “Galileo’s Credo” [March 5/12], a review of two new biographies of Galileo. As a student finishing my doctoral dissertation on Bertolt Brecht, I am familiar with Galileo within the context of Brecht’s work, and was writing a paper on his play The Life of Galileo. Findlen’s review is very informative and well written, and she handled the intricacies of Galileo’s life and contributions to science with great care.