Jean Nordhaus Memos from the Broken World

ISBN 13: 9781936419562

Memos from the Broken World

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9781936419562: Memos from the Broken World

Poetry. Taking her title from the kabbalist creation tale of the clay vessels that had to break so God's light could scatter through the universe, Nordhaus mourns and celebrates a world that comes into being through continuous acts of breakage. She recalls a child who would eat nothing broken, a kewpie doll with a crack that 'spidered across his plaster skull' with blackness trickling from 'the hollow place inside,' conjures a spark of light that 'splashed into the teacup of a skinny Jew named Kafka,' and details the clash between religious and ethnic longings and the realities of violent conflict in a sequence of poems set in Israel and the West Bank. Ranging over time and continents, the poems in MEMOS FROM THE BROKEN WORLD, tell of our longing for the perfection of 'snow in the morning / before any footstep has broken the crust' and of the various strategies we humans devise, as we pursue happiness in an imperfect world.

"'Time eats everything up,' writes Jean Nordhaus, and that includes our griefs as well as our joys. Her poems in MEMOS FROM THE BROKEN WORLD stand as antidotes to Time's thoughtless erasures, reminding us—for what else is a memo but a reminder?—that the world is broken so that it may continue. Home and homelessness, exile and restoration, childhood and parenthood, the range of subjects among these short, perfect lyrics is breathtaking. These are poems in praise of the continuities of living."—Mark Jarman

"Though these poems can't mend our broken world, they can surely illuminate it for us with their wisdom and craft. Jean Nordhaus is a poet of keen intelligence, her language spare but resonant. This new book offers many pleasures and should earn for its author the large readership she has long deserved."—Linda Pastan

"We have the rarity of a book of poetry that sustains a coherence, its parts echoing back and forth upon one another, the interplay of the memos threaded throughout the work and coming finally, in 'Breaking Dishes,' back to us. 'God's light' broken still and the child who still hungers 'for a lost, unblemished land.' Yet it is precisely and only from what is broken that birth is possible.

"This is an exceptional, powerful collection of poetry by Jean Nordhaus. The reader will be grateful to live in this landscape and to make the journey with the poet."—Myra Sklarew

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About the Author:

Jean Nordhaus has published six books of poetry. Innocence won the Charles B. Wheeler Prize and was published by Ohio State University Press in November, 2006. Her earlier books include The Porcelain Apes of Moses Mendelssohn (Milkweed Editions) and My Life in Hiding (Quarterly Review of Literature Volume 30). She has published work in American Poetry Review, the New Republic, Poetry, Best American Poetry, and Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. She lives in Washington, DC and serves as Review Editor for Poet Lore, the oldest continuously publishing poetry journal in the US.

Review:

Time eats everything up, writes Jean Nordhaus, and that includes our griefs as well as our joys. Her poems in Memos from the Broken World stand as antidotes to Time's thoughtless erasures, reminding us for what else is a memo but a reminder — that the world is broken so that it may continue. Home and homelessness, exile and restoration, childhood and parenthood, the range of subjects among these short, perfect lyrics is breathtaking. These are poems in praise of the continuities of living. --Mark Jarman, author of Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems

Though these poems can't mend our broken world, they can surely illuminate it for us with their wisdom and craft. Jean Nordhaus is a poet of keen intelligence, her language spare but resonant. This new book offers many pleasures and should earn for its author the large readership she has long deserved. --Linda Pastan

We have the rarity of a book of poetry that sustains a coherence, its parts echoing back and forth upon one another, the interplay of the memos threaded throughout the work and coming finally, in Breaking Dishes, back to us. God's light broken still and the child who still hungers for a lost, unblemished land. Yet it is precisely and only from what is broken that birth is possible. This is an exceptional, powerful collection of poetry by Jean Nordhaus. The reader will be grateful to live in this landscape and to make the journey with the poet. --Myra Sklarew

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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