Holocaust Poetry

Hilda Schiff, Editor St. Martin's Press $22 (160p) ISBN 978-0-312-13086-2
The power of verse to encompass a topic of mammoth scope and render it into painstakingly personal detail is keenly demonstrated in this absorbing and well thought-out anthology of grief. Sixty-two poets of different ages, citizenships and perspectives make their voices heard. There is Primo Levi on being an Auschwitz survivor; Randall Jarrell speaks in the voice of a death-camp worker. There are poems that have no need for complexity of form or vocabulary. Poets from Eastern and Western Europe, Russia, Israel and the U.S. declare the simple truths that propel the reader through the eight parts of this collection, each section a stage marked with a title of forewarning, beginning with ``Alienation'' and ``Persecution,'' on to ``Lessons'' and, finally, ``God.'' We learn what was left of the body--smoke, empty shoes, ``a faded plait/ a pigtail with a ribbon''--and we uncover what was freed of the poet's mind--rage, testimony, legacy. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-312-14357-2
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