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Holocaust

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  123 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Black Sparrow is proud to restore to print one of the great long poems of the late 20th century, Charles Reznikoff's Holocaust, originally published in 1975.

Reznikoff's subject is one people's suffering at the hand of another. His source materials are the U.S. government's record of the trials of the Nazi criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunal and the transcript

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Paperback, 94 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Black Sparrow Press (first published January 1st 1975)
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(showing 1-30 of 226)
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Jeff Buddle
Does a poet "write" a poem, or does a poet "make" a poem?

I prefer the latter verb. And never has that verb been more true than for Charles Reznikoff's "Holocaust."

For this poem, Reznikoff doesn't write a word. The poem is built on two sources, the Nurenberg war trials and transcripts of the Adolf Eichmann trial.

Reznikoff never intrudes upon these texts: he slices, edits and lineates. He does not comment on the horrors the words recount.

And horrors there are a'plenty.

Reznikoff does not write,
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Leslie
I finished this book last night. It was difficult to do and not because it isn’t transfixing. This is a book I would not have picked up on my own and I was skeptical when my professor assigned it for workshop. I tend to avoid holocaust narratives, in part because I feel inundated with them, in part because you know they will (as Allison says) make you want to drink the bleach.

Reznikoff collaged fragments from the courtroom transcripts of various trials (e.g., the Nuremberg trials, the Eichmann t
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s ss
By appropriating material from court testimonies about the Holocaust and then reworking, in minor ways, the words he stole, Reznikoff makes a harrowing, truthful account of what really went on during the Nazi regime. He does this in small stories about people, recounting nameless victims with hyperclarity. The book is a quick read, even for poetry, and is a must read if you're grappling with how to appropriate sources as a poet.
franciszka
documentary poetry at its serious finest. this book is one of my favorite teachers. utilizing only text gathered from testimonies at the nuremberg trials, you have to be ready to sit with the horror. (checked this book out from the library, but had to just hold it on a shelf/in my bag/in my hands for weeks before i could crack it open [had to be in the right space to take it in]. but when i did, i read it in one sitting.)
Laurel Perez
This is one of those collections of poetry that just leave you hurting. Reznikoff used courtroom transcripts to create poems that are maddeningly painful. By choosing not to use names, he created work that exemplifies what could happen to anyone, and makes us question the hows and whys of the Holocaust. Additionally, he does not shy away from details, some of which after having read many books about WWII, I have never heard. Furthermore, he exacerbates what is common knowledge, and explodes it i ...more
Beth Wisniewski
This book is actually a long poem cut into sections that represent different aspects of the Holocaust. This topic has been an area of intense study for me since childhood and have read many books about the Holocaust.
I found that Mr. Reznikoff's poem was heartfelt, touching and objective. Although this subject can be very disturbing, this book gives the horrific details without being too graphic for the reader. Also, have some Kleenex nearby!
Scott
Does one ever really "like" holocaust books? This book is daunting, despite it's brevity, and haunting.

That being said, I think it will really change the way I teach the book Nightthis year. I think there is a certain truth to it that most memoir doesn't convey. While the trials are made up of testimony/memories themselves, the process of making testamonies in court seems to have more validity than most diary-style memoirs.

The challenge is going to be choosing which poems to teach. How Rezniko
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Reeses
Needless to say, everytime I read this book it made me very sad. I hated that people would be so cruel to other people. I hated reading about it. I also hated discussing this book in class. Going over and over and over what the poem ment, and why it was put in the book. I hated it. This book is a great work of art though. It go the message across effectively, but I hated reading it. It made me feel ill. Charles Reznikoff is a genius. He put the pieces and testimonies of these crimes together ama ...more
Eric
This book takes the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and puts them in poetic form. While Reznikoff does edit out passages and, obviously, insert line and stanza breaks, he otherwise maintains the language of the witnesses. What results is a sort of anti-poetry: The language is prose-like, and much of the impact of the text results from its ability to present the material as both powerful and banal, the banality resulting from lists and repetition.
jeff
Full of things i knew already, artfully rendered to remind me how goddamned incomprehensibly awful they really were. The note at the end that explains how he created the poems from the testimonies was exceedingly helpful and illustrative of the process of turning people's words into poems. Also, if you're ever feeling pretty satisfied with how people treat one another in general--here is your rebuttal.
Chris Schaeffer
The work of the archive is morally fraught, even moreso when they approach the archive AS a moralist. Reznikoff puts himself in a tricky situation by setting himself up as CURATOR of manuscripts rather than just witness to them. I think this book doesn't look good held up next to the more radical, more caustic 'transcript,' but it still has what it takes to ruin your weekend good and thoroughly.
Juli
What makes this book amazing is not emotion in its contents, but emotion invoked in its readers. The poems are made up, not from fiction surrounding the real life events of the Holocaust, but by choosing carefully actual fragments of statements given as testimony by survivors and witnesses of these atrocities.
Mills College Library
811.52 R467h 2007
TaraShea Nesbit
If you love this work track down the out of print Testimony, a collection of poems that use original testimonies from Americans in the 1890s to early 1900s, sectioned by location (South, North) to explore what people do to one another and the world through the lens of his musicality.
Hillary M.
I like this for its relevance and important status. Of course, the five stars doesn't reflect how I feel about the actions taken in this work. I found it very hard to stomach. Not for the easy-queasies. Highly recommend this, but prepare yourself.
Sara
Amazing and disturbing collection of poems written from the transcripts of war crime trials. Be prepared to be slapped in the face by the unemotional descriptions of tragic and horrifying events. Very powerful.
Joanna
Poetry of witness selscted and arranged by Reznikoff. Testimony revisited. Did I like it? Not at all but it does what it set out to do: lay out the facts in such a way that one cannot look away.
Esther
More so for how Reznikoff handles tone and understatement and juxtaposes it with the subject matter of the Holocaust, which underscores the atrocities that much more.
Poupeh
court material and legal documents are one and the same as poetry... it is as simple as that. as painful.
Katie
So moving, so frightening, so sad.
Mike
Disturbing but poignant; still not convinced it's poetry either though.
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