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Stealing History

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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    An enlightening book of essays

    Stern takes us through his poetic life in Stealing History, a book filled to bursting with wisdom and wit. Unlike your usual book of essays, the contents of the book intermingle with one another, referencing and remembering each bit that’s come before. The result is a potent exposition on matters important to Stern: his identity as a Jew with controversial political beliefs, his thoughts on what it means to be a neighbor, and his stance on matters concerning justice. Coming from this unique background, he presents material in an equally intriguing manner:

    “I am lying now on my back in my dark bedroom and my left hand is caressing the smooth, cool cover of the book that’s been there for several years, John Cage’s X, a collection of prose and poetry, brought out by Wesleyan in 1983. It’s full of chance writing, but not much silence, since you can’t have that in either prose or poetry, at least as you can in music. Even a book of empty pages is not the same as absent musical notes,” (p. 253).

    In every paragraph Stern’s writing reflects an uncommon mastery, from his musings of childhood to his violent memories of pogroms and the affect such events had on his way of thinking. Fans of poetry and personal essays alike will be able to take a great deal away from Stealing History.

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