Works-in-Progress

 Still Life with Wonder: This manuscript of poems contains elegiac work and poetry that addresses diverse global traumas, the fluidity of gender, the writing of renowned poets, and the vicissitudes of love and friendship, sometimes through the lens of rhetorical theory, particularly that of Plato and St. Augustine. The theme of “postmemory” is a frequent subtext in this collection: the identification that children of survivors of extreme collective and cultural trauma have with their parents’ experiences.

Aunt Bird: A manuscript that employs documentary poetic practices in order to reimagine the life of my aunt who died in the Kraków Ghetto in German-occupied Poland in 1942. It is based on my discovery of testimonials about her recently made public on the Internet by “Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center” and by “The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.” In this manuscript, I use pre-existing cultural documents, archival material, as well as public and private testimonies that recount my aunt’s short life story. (She perished when she was twenty-three.) I also use my imagination to portray her, sometimes in surreal and fantastical ways. Directly or indirectly, as is true of most documentary poetry, Aunt Bird argues for social and political change, merging such arguments with personal experience, while seeking to uncover truths about events,  particularly truths that apply to the marginalized histories of those who have been silenced or who can no longer speak.

Yizkor: Elegies for Vanished Towns: A poetry collection that will expand upon the genre of the elegy as a work of mourning for an individual’s death, allowing for the persistence in our daily lives of lamenting the fate of entire communities of anonymous people.  The elegies in this collection will be in dialogue with and explore Yizkor books—hybrid Holocaust memorial texts that document the history of Eastern and Central European Jewish communities destroyed by the Nazis during World War II.

In the Hot Wind: Translations from the Yiddish of Celia Dropkin’s collection of poems, In Heysn VintIn the Hot Wind.  Dropkin was an innovator of the erotic modernist love poem in Yiddish and wrote during the first half of the twentieth-century.  Her work addresses sex, love, death, and motherhood with groundbreaking candor.

The Book of Questions, Volume I: Translations from the French of the twentieth-century French-Egyptian poet Edmond Jabès’s text, Livre des questions I.  His work is a hybrid verse-novel—a mosaic of aphorisms, dialogues, narratives, fragments, and imaginary rabbinic commentaries—whose disjunctive and elliptical storyline brings to light the account of Yukel and his lover Sarah, French Jews, Holocaust survivors, and survivors of the concentration camps.  While the book engages with the notion of the Holocaust’s ineffable violence and horror, it, likewise, addresses the violence inflicted on us all by language’s inscrutable nature.

 

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