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Threshold
     

Threshold

by Shirley Kaufman
 

Shirley Kaufman has long been a house favorite at Copper Canyon, and we’re celebrating her new book with a special price of $12.00.

Born in the United States, Shirley Kaufman has lived for the past 20 years in Jerusalem, a city split by cultural and religious fault lines. In direct, sensitive language, Kaufman’s poems occupy the shifting border

Overview

Shirley Kaufman has long been a house favorite at Copper Canyon, and we’re celebrating her new book with a special price of $12.00.

Born in the United States, Shirley Kaufman has lived for the past 20 years in Jerusalem, a city split by cultural and religious fault lines. In direct, sensitive language, Kaufman’s poems occupy the shifting border between ordinary life and violence, Palestinian and Jew, young love and aging companionship. They grapple with the meaning of routine, of family, and of life among a daily existence punctured with bombs.

Sometimes I need to be nowhere. A place
without history.
A life of wandering
like the desert generation of Moses.
The wandering Jew. But that brings me
back into history.
Sealed rooms. Windows
criss-crossed with tape so the glass won’t shatter.
A dark noose of memory around my neck.
Coffins covered with flags and flags
burning. I need to be nowhere.
—from "Sanctum"

"There’s such solidity to Shirley Kaufman’s writing. . . . You feel in conversation with someone wise and passionate, someone you can trust."— Poetry Flash

"Kaufman’s poems flourish in the spaces between what is familiar and unfamiliar, between life in Israel and life in the U.S., and in those moments when the differences between Palestinians and Jews, mothers and daughters, history and the immediate moment play themselves out."— American Book Review

"Kaufman is adept at revealing the human face behind politics, carefully accumulating familiar details to make a large portrait."— Publishers Weekly

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 lives in Jerusalem.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Born in Seattle, Kaufman has lived in Jerusalem since 1973, and has published, among 13 books, selected editions of her work in English and in Hebrew. Many of these 68 poems, often a page or two long, are set in Jerusalem, and cascade down the page in short hemistichs that shape themselves, via thick margins and alternating right and left justification, into thin columns of sparse text, simultaneously spacious and constrained, like the city itself: "tiny gardens// green on the corners/ in somebody's memory// the name/ incised on a concrete slab// and a bench/ with two immovable doves." Kaufman approaches Jerusalem's bitter memories, contested histories and joyous unfoldings with a wary love; even the seemingly whimsical "Ungaretti's Umbrella" speaks of rain only to "rinse our minds if we could/ from the unthinkable." The longer poem "Immersion" memorializes the WWII destruction of the Greek island of Crete's Jewish community. The final poem, "Sanctum," entreats with willful sadness, "Let's sit here together on the throne/ as if suspended over our own deaths./ Let's lean back-easy-against the supporting stone, and trust it to bear our weight/ a little longer." The threshold on which this collection is poised remains unspoken. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556591921
Publisher:
Copper Canyon Press
Publication date:
05/01/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(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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