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Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto Hardcover – August 9, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Nakedly stark accounts of circumstances unimaginable to most people today outside the pages of powerful writing like Janeczko's. Somewhat disturbing imagery makes this book most suitable for mature readers, but its intimate glimpses of life inside the Holocaust will likely rank it among the most worthwhile teen reads for years to come.
—Library Media Connection (starred review)

Janeczko draws on factual records to imagine fictional characters, who narrate each poem in this searing collection. The inmates speak in spare, accessible free verse, and the plain words contrast with the enormity of their personal heartbreak, cruelty, and loss. ...Together, the images and the poems capture unforgettable truths
—Booklist

About the Author

Paul B. Janeczko is the author of WORLDS AFIRE, a collection of poems about the 1944 circus fire in Hartford, which was named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Among his award-winning poetry anthologies are A POKE IN THE I, A KICK IN THE HEAD, and A FOOT IN THE MOUTH, all illustrated by Chris Raschka. He lives in Hebron, Maine.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition edition (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763647276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763647278
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gayle G. on August 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a teacher and as a Jew, I have some concerns about this book. Most importantly, this is not a YA book. Many of the poems, especially those written in the voice of Nazi soldiers, are too brutal for this age group. I would hate to be a Jewish child in a classroom where this book is taught. I could see it--maybe--in an AP class, but only as part of a larger Holocaust lit unit. I say this because there are already primary source documents from both survivors and victims, and I'm not sure what this book can add on its own.
Janeczko is at the top of his game with the narrative voices, but that's precisely the problem. The voices of the Nazis are too intense (and probably, frighteningly accurate), whereas the imagined voices of the Jews do not quite ring true. The poem "David Epstein," for example, is about a Jew wishing for revenge against the Nazi who incinerated his wife, Sarah (yes, David and Sarah are the names that the Nazis gave to most Jews, regardless of what their names were), but revenge is no more a Jewish concept than it is a Christian one. In this poem, the speaker seems to relish ideas like force-feeding, with a spoon, the ashes of his wife to the Nazi. This line seems particularly objectionable and again, does not ring true.
Lastly, the word "Requiem" is a Catholic word, despite Janeczko's explanation that he chose it in its secular sense. For a poet, the right word--le mot juste--is the goal, and this word is off the mark.
Some poems, such as "Chess Game," are absolutely beautiful, so a teacher would need to be sensitive, skillful, and selective when using this book in the classroom.
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Format: Hardcover
Paul Janeczko's poems are sure to challenge any reader. But they are also captivating and haunting in their language, homage to a quickly disappearing art form known as the poem, which does not have to be historically perfect or logical. Instead, these poems will, as Emily Dickinson requested, "take the top of one's head off." If you haven't heard Janeczko speak, you should. He'll be at Montclair State University on April 6th, and I plan to be there live.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love all of Paul B. Janeczko's books. This one is a great addition to any Holocaust library. I recommend it highly.
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