What We Are Reading Today: The Music of Time by John Burnside

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Updated 21 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Music of Time by John Burnside

Poetry helps us to make sense of our world, transforming what the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam called the “noise of time” into a kind of music. 

The Music of Time is a unique history of 20th-century poetry by one of today’s most acclaimed poets, blending incandescent personal meditations with rare insights about a broad range of poets who distilled the essence of the moment, gave voice to our griefs and joys, and shaped our collective memory.

Bringing together poets from times and places as diverse as Tsarist Russia, 1960s Harlem, and Ireland at the height of the Troubles, John Burnside reveals how poetry responded to the dramatic events of the century while shaping our impressions of them. 

He takes readers from the trenches of World War I to a prison cell in Nazi Germany, and from Rilke’s grave in the Swiss Alps to Dylan Thomas’s Welsh seaside. His luminous narrative is woven through with insights into the poet’s creative process as well as lyrical and thought-provoking digressions on topics ranging from marriage to the Kennedy assassination.

A spellbinding work of literary history, The Music of Time reveals how poets engaged with the most important issues and events of the 20th century, and bears personal witness to the beauty and power of an art form unlike any other.


What We Are Reading Today: Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo

Updated 26 March 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo

Author: Seth Anziska

The 1978 Camp David Accords and the signing of the Egypt- Israel peace treaty are widely viewed as a triumph of US diplomacy in the Middle East.

Yet the Palestinians—the would-be beneficiaries of this vision for a comprehensive regional settlement—remain without a state to this day.

How and why Palestinian statelessness persists are the central questions of Seth Anziska’s groundbreaking history of the Palestinian- Israeli peace process.

Based on newly declassified sources and interviews with key participants, Preventing Palestine charts how Egyptian-Israeli peace was forged at the cost of sovereignty for the Palestinians, creating crippling challenges to their aspirations for a homeland— hurdles that only increased with Israeli settlement expansion and Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

The first intifada and the end of the Cold War brought new opportunities for a Palestinian state, but the 1993 Oslo Accords undermined the meaning of independence. Filled with astute political analysis, Preventing Palestine offers a bold new interpretation of an enduring struggle for selfdetermination

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