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Darkling Perfect Paperback – October 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anna Rabinowitz, editor and publisher of American Letters and Commentary, won the Juniper Prize for her debut, At the Site of Inside Out. She follows up with the book-length poem Darkling, investigating her family's experience in the Holocaust via a fragmentary recollections and textual reclamation, looking for "the way back to raw footage." The book's short, unnumbered sections jump from tercets of long lines, to prose passages, to segments that all but ignore the hegemony of the left margin, to unmaskings of pseudo-scientific theoretical constructions, which cannot compete with the fact that "hundreds of Jews were laid up in a grid-like pattern.... wobbly reliefs of bodies on/ Cobbled stone." This dense, unsettling volume makes a unique contribution to Holocaust literature. Photos.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Rabinowitz won the Juniper Prize for At the Site of Inside Out (1997). In her second book, a long, elegantly structured, and timely poem of loss and remembrance, she is archaeologist, elegist, and historian. Her inspiration is a family archive, a shoebox full of old photographs and letters, and the shards of memories shared by relatives who escaped the Holocaust. Add to that the poet's deep affinity for "The Darkling Thrush," a poem by Thomas Hardy marking January 1, 1900, the start of a new century that proved unprecedented in its mechanized violence and megatragedy. One hundred years later, at the bloody start of another confounding era, Rabinowitz muses on displacement and the fracturing of language and self, and mass murder and the guilt and grief of the living, in a piercing and powerful incantation in which the first letter of each line spells out Hardy's poem. This demanding acrostic formula creates a profoundly resonant overlay of two crucial sensibilities: his a celebration of unforeseen hope, hers a promise never to forget. Donna Seaman
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