Contents: This book shows how ten important American Jewish poets use their artistry to express a personal identification with their Jewish heritage through a dynamic of memory (history) and fire (prophecy).
Gary Pacernick's treatment of ten Jewish poets is an extraordinary feat. Sensitive to their nuanced reactions to their complex environment, he is also aware of the fire of their contributions. ...an important addition to the small but growing scholarly body of books on the many American Jewish poets that deserve recognition and fair assessment. (Daniel Walden, Pennsylvania State University) Pacernick's work is the first to study them as a group. ... Writing lucidly for a general audience, Pacernick deftly surveys an array of poems, commenting not only on substance but on technical and expressive strategies as well as literary kinships. ... The first publication of the Twentieth Century American Jewish Writers Series, this volume is a welcome addition to Jewish Studies. For readers largely unfamiliar with the poetry it reviews, it will serve as a lucid introduction. (Readers will be further enlightened by the comments several poets have contributed on their work; by a useful bibliography; and by brief but pointed biographical sketches of each poet reviewed.) For scholars interested in the manifestations of a distinctively Jewish voice in twentieth-century American literature, it will offer fresh and compelling insights. (Leonora Woodman, Shofar)