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Category Archive for 'Poetry'

Lively images of the cat (shunra) and the butterfly (schmetterling) chase and play through the memories of a poetic child as Yoel Hoffmann, one of Israel’s most celebrated writers, takes us to another time and place and recreates childhood and the coming of age. More than sixty years have passed since the speaker first lived in Ramat Gan, and the passage of time has intensified some memories, eliminated the irrelevancies from others, and connected the fantasies of childhood with the perennial mysteries of adulthood. Nature imagery—of birds, animals, clouds, and the sky—permeate this expressionistic painting of a poet’s life, giving depth and color to instants in time and to moments in history. As intense, compressed and sometimes elusive as the speaker’s memories are, the story—and our picture of the author—gradually emerge, insinuating themselves into our own consciousness and speaking directly to us.

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In Wintering, her debut novel, Kate Moses recreates the heart, soul, and psyche of Sylvia Plath, a feat that is so extraordinary and so realistic in its execution that it is difficult to know where to start in describing it. In preparation for this novel, Moses did as much research as many doctoral candidates do, reading virtually every piece of Plath’s writing, both public and private, and most, if not all, of the resource material about Plath — her journals and letters, comments by contemporaries, letters to and from her mother, her daily calendars, audio recordings, biographies, manuscripts, notes by Ted Hughes, and even her baby book. So completely did she distill this material that the reader of the novel feels as if she or he is actually entering the mind of Plath, a Plath who is speaking and reminiscing, conjuring up events, aching, dreaming, and hoping. Astonishingly, Moses achieves this without ever deviating from a third person narrative and without ever speaking as Plath herself.

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