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Small Hours based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ilyse Kusnetz’s Small Hours is riveting. The collection is full of little known (and often bizarre) episodes in history, each told in gut-wrenching, perfectly crafted poems, each a jewel. My head is filled with images of match girls leaning over chemical vats, dipping the splinters of wood, then licking the sulfur to make the tips stiff, or the bones of Rontgen's wife's hand caught in X-ray (“…the first X-ray ever created was proof of his love:/ Portrait of a hand with wedding ring, diamond and band/ like Saturn perched on her finger, each joint a moon”), or the painting of Jan Provoost’s Annunciation with its ungainly dove (“What can I say? You wanted/ doves in their alluvial grace,/ a fanfare of trumpets? Let’s face it./ Sometimes it’s the chicken / who brings us the news—every flawed,/ graceless thing we must/ take into ourselves and transform.”) Kusnetz tackles everything from dementia, concentration camps, sadistic Roman emperors, the theft of Galileo's finger. Her searing poetry shows that even the darkest times have moments of incredible light. A must read.