Rivers of Salt

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An American poet residing in Jerusalem, Kaufman ( Claims ) continues to deftly juxtapose modern Israel with Old Testament landscapes. But these recent pieces are imbued with new conflicts. The book's opening poem was written during the Gulf war: ``We just have to / lie here in the dark, soothed after love, / getting used to how it is,'' the speaker says, gas mask in the closet, waiting in the interim between air raid signals. Kaufman's poems work individually, but take on greater power in sequence, and each of this book's four sections chronicles a time and place. The danger inherent in the book's first section prompts a look at mother-daughter ties from the perspective of a woman whose mother had died, whose daughters are mothers themselves. The book closes with two sections written in other lands--India, then Italy. The poems from India are especially poignant. Contrast ``It's the past I look into, / but the past keeps growing'' with the beggar at the taxi window who is ``not getting smaller / in the distance / as we drive away''--words which reflect on the preceding poems. The mesh of form and content throughout this volume is at times astounding. (May)
Library Journal
Kaufman is an American-born poet who now lives in Jerusalem. In this, her sixth collection of poems, she writes from a calm maturity centered in her ability to find balance between tragedy and joy, beauty and desecration, distance and intimacy. In the first section of this book, she writes with pathos of life in conflict-ridden Jerusalem, but she is never herself pathetic. The flavor of living in an environment of constant tension is poignantly captured here: ``I drove down to Jericho/ to find you during the cease-fire./ I baked your favorite cake,/the lemon sponge, and we sat for awhile/together next to your gun.'' In the second section, elation bursts through, along with comfort and the joys of family and friends. Kaufman also writes sensitively about her travels to Asia and Italy, but her strongest poems remain centered richly, and with deep devotion, in Israel. For every library with a collection of contemporary poetry.-- Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556590559
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1993
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Shirley Kaufman is the author of seven books of poetry and several translations from the Hebrew. Her awards include the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. A native of Seattle, Kaufman now makes her home in Jerusalem.

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Table of Contents

His Wife 3
Turtles 4
"Je Suis Belle" 6
Beetle on the Shasta Daylight 9
The Hunger Artist 12
Mothers, Daughters 15
Eye 17
Foucault Pendulum 21
There She Goes 23
Above Vitebsk 24
To Masaccio 25
Watts 26
Mycenae, the Graves, the Gates 30
Where 33
from After the Voices 35
The Dream 40
Realities 41
After Woodstock 43
Apples 45
Nechama 47
The Burning of the Birds 50
Horseshoe Crabs 55
Bunk Beds 57
Lawrence at Taos 60
Tai Chi 63
Leah 65
from Letting Go 67
from Divorce 71
Starting Over 76
The Way 77
Loving 78
Looking at Henry Moore's Elephant Skull Etchings in Jerusalem During the War 79
Dinosaur Tracks in Beit Zayit 86
Take Anything 88
The Mountain 92
Prologue: Jacaranda 97
The Mount of Olives 98
Reasons 99
Brest Litovsk 100
The Distance 101
Honey 102
Wherever We're Not 104
Aunt Fan 105
The Winning of the West 106
Losses 107
The Road out of Poland 108
If I go down to the docks 109
Stones 110
Deja Vu 111
City of David II 113
Abishag 114
As the Reel Turns 116
Crumbs 118
Fawn 120
Spring 121
Walking across the park in April 122
I tell you what I remember 123
The Dream of Completion 124
Chosen 125
Meeting in Ramallah 126
After the Wars 127
Roots in the Air 128
Trees find their shapes again 129
Autumn Crocus 130
Waiting 133
Longing for Prophets 136
The Lowest Place on Earth 137
The Core 138
Lemon Sponge 139
Intifada 141
1 The Status Quo 141
2 Peace March 142
3 Decisions 143
Hamsin Breaking after Five Days 144
By the Rivers 145
Bread and Water 147
Snow in Jerusalem 148
Notes to my Daughters 149
A Japanese Fan 154
Milk 156
Leftovers 159
Lake 162
At the Station 163
The Temples of Khajuraho 165
Riding the Elephant 168
Ganges 170
Happy Endings 173
Jealousy 174
Drifting 175
Poem in November 181
The Buddha of Sokkuram 185
Three Egyptian Poems 188
1 Sky 188
2 The River 189
3 Dust over Cairo 190
Bolero 191
The Accuser 193
Vows 194
"The West is Suffering from Compassion Fatigue" 196
Poste Restante 198
Waiting Room 200
Security 201
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