Korri's Reviews > Not in the Same Breath זאָג כאָטש להבֿדיל

Not in the Same Breath זאָג כאָטש להבֿדיל by Zackary Sholem Berger
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Jul 28, 2011

bookshelves: poetry
Read in July, 2011

Two things: I was sent a copy to review by the author. I do not read Yiddish.

With my ignorance preventing me from enjoying many of the poems, I set about swimming through Berger’s English poems. Some of the word choices were slightly muddled, leaving this reader pouring over the diction with confusion instead of delight. Some of the poems felt like they needed extra polishing but in each there is a glimmer of the deep idea and inspiration shimmering beneath the cobbled words, a kernel of the faith and history that gave breath to the poet. Grounded in Jewish & Yiddish specificity, these poems speak to universal desires, fears, longings and experience.

In three lines ‘I’m a big watermelon’ explores the idea of mess, confusion and seeming randomness of life & what it means to be alive and taking up space in the world. ‘The Chapter “There Are Those Who Bequeath”’ begins with a meditation on the Talmudic passage and leads to reflections of passing from life in endearingly colloquial terms.

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