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Monday, May 09, 2005


Jonathan David Jackson

Beautifully articulated.

Why not work on three roughly 150 word, book-length memoirs--creative nonfiction--or 3, both personal and analytical long publishable essays that consolidate aspects of your blog-posts:

1) One essay could be about an under-recognized Jewish American experience so beautifully expressed in this post and exemplified by your mother's teaching.

2) Another would be about the journey to discover the cultural links between your father's legacy and Frankie Newton's. May I suggest simply fleshing out each of your posts: walk us through the journey of rediscovering things about your father and the parallel discovery of the world of Frankie Newton. What's so evocative about these posts is that they record the STEPS in a quest.

3) The other essay would be about your personal, and by extension, your sociopolitical, experience of Gertrude Stein's legacy. You see Benjamin, you've gotten far enough away from the academese to really talk now about what her work truly means to you and to use the lush, richly textured rhetoric of personal yet fiercely analytical writing so well represented by your blog. Stein's whole ethos actually escapsulates life-choices that have much to teach us about unacknowledged realms of the Jewish American experience. We deeply need voices of popular literary nonfiction that does not rehearse tired identity politics, name dropping and fake fetishizing theory but that rather truly gets at the specific human relevance of the subject. Looking at the making of Stein as a particular kind of American--expatriate and otherwise--seems apt. Poetry becomes, then, one of the sites in which you speak about unexpected life-choices and the necessaries inherent in them. A short, personal yet analytical exploration would galvanize the spirit.

And your words in this post about the perjorative perception of Yiddish resonated deeply with me because my own grandfather--who I only saw once in my life--on my mother's side, named Swifty, spoke and revered Yidish as well as Hebrew--it was a professional necessity in his dealings with Jewish American underground merchants in Philadelphia--legal or quasi-legal.

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