Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust

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9780896722149: Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust

Any crime against humanity, regardless of proportion, revives the age-old question: How are we to learn from what has happened, lest atrocity repeat itself? In response, scholars labor to record ever more accurate and complete histories; archivists gather countless memoirs for posterity; logicians ponder causal relations and motives; and psychologists and sociobiologists scrutinize human aggression and passivity. Yet how can we keep history alive without becoming inured to it? Perhaps these poets know. Of all that has been written about the Holocaust, nothing is likely to surpass this heroic composition in power or in fidelity. Nothing is likely to tell the story better. In this symphonic work, Charles Fishman draws together an extraordinarily rich chorus of voices that represent the American response to the Holocaust. Fishman has listened to these voices as if they were his own, as if in this close attentiveness he would discover the record of his own complex relationship with that fatal epoch. Indeed, this arresting composition flows like an elegiac collection by a single author. Two brief thematic sequences are prelude to three long movements that track the Holocaust from the terrifying pogrom known as Kristallnacht through the decades immediately following the Holocaust, to the present. This surprising, significant, and deeply engaging orchestration provides most eloquent witness. Charles Fishman is Distinguished Service Professor of English and Humanities at SUNY Farmingdale, where he has directed the Visiting Writers Program since 1979. Among other awards and honors, he has received three National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and the Gertrude B. Claytor Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His five published books of poetry include Mortal Companions, The Death Mazurka, and Zoom. Catlives: Sarah Kirsch’s Katzenleben, a translation of poetry with Marina Roscher, was released by Texas Tech University Press in 1991.

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About the Author:

Charles Ades Fishman created the Visiting Writers Program at Farmingdale State College in 1979 and served as director until 1997. He also developed the Distinguished Speakers Program for Farmingdale State and led that program from 2001 through 2007. In addition, he was cofounder of the Long Island Poetry Collective (1973), a founding editor of Xanadu magazine and Pleasure Dome Press (1975), and originator of the Paumanok Poetry Award Competition, which he coordinated for seven years (1990-97). He has also been series editor of the Water Mark Poets of North America Book Award (1980-83), associate editor of The Drunken Boat, and poetry editor of Gaia, Cistercian Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Genocide Studies, and he is currently poetry editor of New Works Review and a consultant in poetry to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Among Fishman's most recent awards and honors are the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association's Long Island Poet of the Year Award (2006) and the 2007 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. His books include Mortal Companions (Pleasure Dome Press, 1977), Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (Texas Tech University Press, 1991), and The Death Mazurka (Texas Tech, 1989), an American Library Association Outstanding Book of the Year that was nominated for the 1990 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. His most recent poetry collections are Country of Memory (Uccelli Press) and 5,000 Bells (Cross-Cultural Communications), both 2004, and Chopin's Piano (Time Being Books, 2006).

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Charles Adés Fishman
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