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Rivers of Salt

Rivers of Salt

by Shirley Kaufman

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

Product Details

Copper Canyon Press
Publication date:
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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