Michael Homolka. Sarabande (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (64p) ISBN 978-1-941411-27-8
Homolka’s alluring debut seamlessly tiles scenes of past and present to create a mosaic that is constantly conscious of the inescapability of time. The book opens with seven poems named for Goshen, the biblical land of the exodus, but these poems are about the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust. Homolka mixes sorrow and hope across time and place, with his speaker musing, “I would have to have known history/ not been so close to it/ I couldn’t make sense of it.” Thus, the fleeting nature of the present can only be captured in swaths of the past. When “people begin to think/ about where they might be buried,” they look back as the “Poisonous stars wander the sky/ till historians fall off as rags and the dead/ are no longer counted.” Homolka works his own personal experience and perspective into a collective family history, as well as broader Jewish history. “Everyone here/ is dying to/ arrive at some/ gravely original/ take on things,” Homolka writes, “while along/ the edge of the/ lake for decades/ those remaining/ sit and discuss/ the reflections.” Aware that he is presenting perennial human questions in new imagery, Homolka lets his metaphors do the work so that the craft, not cleverness, shines through. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2016
Release date: 07/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 64 pages - 978-1-941411-28-5
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