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Jewish Exponent -
“A stirring collection of poems.”
This is the first English publication of these extraordinary poems. Fanny Howe's deft adaptations preserve their freshness and innocence while making them entirely compelling. They are presented with a biographical introduction that conveys the powerful story of the sisters' survival from capture to freedom in 1946.
"This is not poetry. It's an alarm bell./ It's a scream, a thunderburst/ syllables in a rush./ The same old sounds." That two sisters from Kraków were able to remain together in the concentration camps for two years is rare in itself. That they also wrote poems is less surprising. In her otherwise insightful introduction to life among Kraków's Jewish elite and then in the camps, poet Fanny Howe (Selected Poems) gingerly steps around the issue of precisely how the poems survived. Though the poems-written in Polish and published here for the first time in English-are said to have a formal structure, the translators have wisely abandoned that in favor of readable English imagery that remains true to the original. The poets were only 17 and 20, respectively, when they were incarcerated, but somewhere they developed a wide worldview: "German factories-one of these days-/ will be engulfed by sirens-that awful yell-and the workshops/ will empty, machines go still/ and hours will pass and no one will come." Although it has its limitations, this book is a crucial purchase for poetry, world literature, Holocaust studies, and Judaica collections.
Afterword by Leon Wolfe
Notes on the Translations
About the Translators