cover image Requiem: Poems of the Terez%C3%ADn Ghetto

Requiem: Poems of the Terez%C3%ADn Ghetto

Paul B. Janeczko. Candlewick, $16.99 (112p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4727-8

Poet Janeczko (Worlds Afire) imagines life inside a Czech concentration camp in this collection of grim but forceful poems, written from the perspectives of fictionalized prisoners (with the exception of one "found%E2%80%9D poem from a real-life inmate's journal), as well as their persecutors. Actual b&w sketches by prisoners that were recovered from the camp are also woven throughout. Janeczko allows his subjects to express their despair, confusion, and rage with unvarnished clarity. A musician, Anna Teller, acerbically describes how the Nazis permitted the prisoners to play music, wanting "the world to see/ the civilized and charming ghetto/ Hitler gave the Jews.%E2%80%9D Another prisoner envisions seeking revenge for the murder of a loved one: "I would like to feed him my Sarah's ashes/ one spoonful after another/ without pause/ until he could no longer breathe.%E2%80%9D Janeczko offers no easy explanations or closure where none can be found, but his powerful collection points to the troubling dual role that the arts played at Terez%C3%ADn%E2%80%94both as a chilling form of propaganda used by Nazis and an undeniable source of respite for their victims. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (Aug.)