cover image Paradise


Victoria Redel. Four Way, $16.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-954245-13-6

The stunning fourth collection from Redel (Woman Without Umbrella) is her most ambitious yet, a reflection on exile, migration, and diaspora that is at once intimate and sweeping. Drawing on family histories known and imagined, the poet ranges across time and place. “I reached my body into another century,” she writes. “If I’m walking a path hugging the Hudson,/ how is it I’m in Romania, birthing my mother in a high bed,// in another home the family abandons just in time?” A first-generation American of Belgian, Egyptian, Polish, Romanian, and Russian descent, the poet searches for stories of lineage: “What is my city? My country? Is homeland... Every city,// a boat to a next refuge.” She reckons with multiple positions: “We tended. We kissed. We starved, fattened, raped./ We hung up, hung out. We shot, shattered, raped.” Stunned by complicity, she asks: “How could they hold our hands if they knew/ what we’d done with our hands.” For all of the brutality captured, Redel’s writing shows a constant and tender regard for beauty: “All those years of worry when I might have chosen wonder.” Readers aching for poetry of compassion and consequence will embrace this bold book. (Feb.)