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Chopin's Piano Paperback – February 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Though taking place over a half century ago, the horrors of the Holocaust and Hiroshima become as alive as yesterday's rain in Mr. Fishman's able depictions based on the testimony, witness, memory of those with a terrible knowledge and experience. Humanity's brutality is also explored in the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the death of Lorca, and violence in the Holy Land. Grim subjects all. The art is in the telling: a simple declarative tone mixed with vivid imagery; a style of calculation: dare to turn your face and heart away while the poet rivets you with a storyteller's skill. --Iconoclast

Chopin's Piano is not a book for poets and poetry lovers only. This is a book that should be read in schools, in libraries, in museums, and in the sanctuary of our homes. It's a book that should be carried around in the halls of academia; it's a book that should be absorbed carefully and then discussed amongst scholars, teachers, musicians, artists, attorneys, architects, bakers, doctors, inventors; and, let us not forget, the survivors, because this is a book about all of these people from all walks of life who made up the Holocaust victims....This is truly the best book of poetry I have read in years; it is so telling and beautiful. --Mia Jones, editor of Tryst Magazine

The poems in Charles Fishman's newest collection, Chopin's Piano, reflect the poet's fierce determination to look into the eyes of evil. These poems take on the past, facing historical and cultural demons, and thereby dare the reader to do the same....For this reader, Chopin's Piano is an 'offering of refuge' in the landscape of contemporary poetry. It comes wholeheartedly recommended. --Lois Roma-Deeley, The Pedestal Magazine

About the Author

Charles Ades Fishman directs the Distinguished Speakers Program at Farmingdale State University. He created the Visiting Writers Program at Farmingdale State in 1979 and served as director until 1997. He also co-founded the Long Island Poetry Collective (1973) and was a founding editor of Xanadu magazine and Pleasure Dome Press (1975). He was founder and coordinator of the Paumanok Poetry Award competition (1990-97) and series editor for the Water Mark Poets of North America Book Award (1980-83), and he has also served as associate editor of The Drunken Boat and poetry editor of Gaia, Cistercian Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Genocide Studies. Currently, he is poetry editor of New Works Review. In 1995, he received a fellowship in poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Fishman's books include The Firewalkers (Avisson Press, 1996), Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (Texas Tech University Press, 1991), and The Death Mazurka (Timberline Press, 1987; reprinted by Texas Tech, 1989), which was listed by the American Library Association as an "Outstanding Book of the Year" (1989) and nominated for the 1990 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. His most recent books are Country of Memory (Uccelli Press) and 5,000 Bells (Cross-Cultural Communications), both 2004. In 2006, he received the Long Island School of Poetry Award from the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. He lives with his wife, Ellen, near the Great South Bay, on Long Island.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 111 pages
  • Publisher: Time Being Books; 1 edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568091044
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568091044
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,483,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tbbooks on May 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Chopin's Piano is not a book for poets and poetry lovers only. This is a book that should be read in schools, in libraries, in museums, and in the sanctuary of our homes. It's a book that should be carried around in the halls of academia; it's a book that should be absorbed carefully and then discussed amongst scholars, teachers, musicians, artists, attorneys, architects, bakers, doctors, inventors; and, let us not forget, the survivors, because this is a book about all of these people from all walks of life who made up the Holocaust victims....This is truly the best book of poetry I have read in years; it is so telling and beautiful.

- Mia, editor of Tryst3.com Poetry Journal
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Johnson on April 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
No modern poet shares his essence with greater generosity than Charles Fishman. His spirit burns with rage and grieves with inexpressible sorrow; this book is glorious and beautiful, haunting and horrifying. Fishman's imagery is masterful as he describes the plight of defenseless victims with sensitivity and passion, yet provides readers with brief moments of beauty. He focuses on "wisps of memory ragged dips in the

grass" that represent the deaths of millions in a universe that cannot be healed. These are shattering poems of the death transports, camps, and burial sites where Jews hoped and prayed for a rescue that did not come.

Maestros of death have existed since time began. The Holocaust was only one example. Fishman also revisits Vietnam, the Israeli Wars, and Hiroshima through the eyes of witnesses who survived to share that horror. Every place humans starve, burn, or wither, Fishman's heart is there. From the dark days of Hitler to the present, he mourns the losses and counts humanity's cost. His words are a ram's horn, a Shofar, a

heart bringing truth out of darkness. If you value poetry as a priceless gift to humanity, Chopin's Piano is a must have, must read.
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Format: Paperback
It's rare for a book of only 111 pages to draw one's heart strings so taut, particularly given the broad range of subjects, which despite the variance of their times, placements and voices, yet manage to hold together at their core.

This one, though divided into four distinct sections, on as many themes, always comes back to the subjects of loss--and renewal--the impossibility of extinguishing passion or silencing music.

The book begins with a single-poem prologue, the title piece, a 14-line work that brings alive a past trauma.

On Sept. 19, 1863, Russian soldiers invaded the Warsaw home of composer Frederick Chopin after a shot was fired and some bombs thrown from an upper story. They sacked the place, burnt Chopin's Paris letters to his parents (preserved by his sister), and threw his Buchholtz piano from the window.

"We were not there to hear it/ but we've learned the tune."

And though every song that follows in the next four sections also recounts destruction of some kind--the Jews of Toledo and the murder of Federico Garcia Lorca; 16 recountings of the Holocaust; poetic tales of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and Israel's rebirth from ashes only to witness new conflagrations of Jews by suicide-- the poet finds "what I murmured to myself felt like the sweetest blessing." And, with the epilogue comes his grandson, "A Child of the Millennium," for whom "time ticks at his wrist like the gentlest rain."

For all the pain and suffering witnessed here, through Fishman's voice, there are also songs of life, in every page.

--Alyssa A. Lappen
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Format: Paperback
Chopin's Piano is collection of poetry drawn from the work of Charles Ades Fishman. The poetry comprising Chopin's Piano offers eye-opening lyrical narratives on themes of war, destruction, beauty, and hope. Dust Of Jerusalem: Your feet on the old stones of Jerusalem/felt heat rising from the earth/as if the flames of history/licked just beneath the surface//Something incendiary pushed tremors upward/so that meaning could not be denied//You tried to move forward into the future/but were pulled to your knees/which also felt the fire that reached/for the sky and beyond the sky//from the dark power at the center:/you were in Jerusalem//where each stone burns/to tell its story where each molecule/of dust brims with a radiance/that scalds.
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I was born out of the Holocaust. I've read the stories and I've seen the sights but I never thought I would hear it's sounds. This poetry delivers their sacred silence. The lines weep. The author misses and mourns a people who should have lived and loved. Here they are brilliantly honored. Every page allows me to do so as well.
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