Strangers to Their Courage

Strangers to Their Courage

by Alice Derry

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Overview

Strangers to Their Courage by Alice Derry

In this startling collection of poetry, Alice Derry contemplates an awkward, even taboo, subject -- the persecution and suffering of the German population before, during, and after World War II. Sparked by her desire to capture in verse the torment of her German cousins, who had survived the horrors of war only to be separated by the division of Germany, Derry composed these poems over a quarter century, ultimately chronicling the anguish of an entire people who "deserved" their lot, a people permanently tainted by the horrifying events of the Third Reich and the Holocaust.

"Before I realized that I was becoming part of a contaminated language and people, I was part of them," writes Derry in her powerful introductory essay, an eloquent discussion of racism, ethnic prejudice, and learned hatred. Indeed, Derry's intensely personal poems have an immediacy that approaches documentary. She divides the poems into two sections, the first telling the stories of her German relatives trapped behind the Iron Curtain, often from their point of view. "When I felt our first son move inside me ... / I walked into the cold, muddy spring, / the rubbled streets, and took my place / in the food lines" ("Mechthild Tells Her Story"). The second section ponders the distinct experiences of German Americans.

By giving voice to a group that Americans and others have been given permission to hate, Derry eloquently reveals a subtle truth about blame and guilt -- in the end we are all implicated, all human suffering is a part of each of us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807127216
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Publication date: 01/01/2002
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsxi
Part IStrangers to Their Courage1
Part IIBoundary21
I.Mechthild Tells Her Story23
II.Hardy26
III.Eveline Speaks29
IV.Ellen32
V.After34
VI.For Our Children36
VII.Getting Her Story Right40
VIII.Even So, I May Not Have Lain against You44
Part IIIGerman American49
Well51
This Path54
You Call It a German Love Story56
Immigrant59
Jackboots61
Or the Dream?64
Small Gifts of Fruit67
He Grew Up West of Innsbruck68
Two Sisters: Some Remnants70
Were You Blind?74
"Well, If That's What You Lived Through ..."77
Herself a Daughter80
Whether He Was Still Running West82
No Way but Forward84
Reading the Names86
Blood Oranges89

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