Paper Trail

Mosab Abu Toha on his escape from Gaza; Amy X. Wang remembers Louise Glück

Mosab Abu Toha

In the New Yorker, poet Mosab Abu Toha describes fleeing his home in Gaza with his family and being detained, stripped, and beaten by Israeli forces. Toha writes of the future, “I hope that when the war ends I can go back to Gaza, to help rebuild my family home and fill it with books. That one day all Israelis can see us as their equals—as people who need to live on our own land, in safety and prosperity, and build a future.”

Amy X. Wang remembers teacher and poet Louise Glück, who died in October. Glück’s friend and colleague Anita Sokolsky says of the poet, “She had a vivid and unstinting interest in others’ lives that teaching helped focus for her. Teaching was very generative to her writing, but it was also a kind of counter to the intensity and isolation of her writing.”

The editors and staff of the Yale Review have put together a roundup of their favorite cultural artifacts from 2023, including the comedy of Jessica Kirson, the artwork of Nicole Eisenman, Celine Song’s film Past Lives, and more. Senior editor Sam Huber writes, “It can be hard to know what to say or do that might feel adequate to the unending churn of loss that has followed Hamas’s October 7 attack, much less to the longer histories of oppression and displacement that preceded it. A growing number of culture workers nevertheless challenge us to speak and act, sometimes at great personal cost.”

On The Dig podcast, Daniel Denvir talks with historian Ussama Makdisi, author of Age of Coexistence, in part one of a two-part episode about the late Ottoman Empire’s Arab culture of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish coexistence. 

On the Paris Review podcast, Jean Garnett reads and discusses her 2022 essay, “Scenes from an Open Marriage,” with Review editor Lidija Haas and producer Helena de Groot. The New York Times recently profiled Jean and her twin, Callie. Both sisters are writers who work in publishing—Jean at Little, Brown, and Callie at Bloomsbury—and often vie for the same books. Speaking about their early careers, Callie says, “We were enough of our own people that we could really share the things that we loved.”