Wide-ranging and poignant reflections on literature, art, science, and memory.
In this collection of essays, stories, and poems, award-winning poet and fiction writer Myra Sklarew traces a journey across the latter half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Her point of view is Jewish, though her subjects include science, exile, the future, the Holocaust, the remaining Jewish community of Morocco, Yiddish poetry, the visual arts, and teaching. Many of these pieces deal with personal subjects—the search for a grandfather's birthplace, the death of a mother, the profound effect of a teacher, the struggle of a woman to embrace Judaism. Whether writing about medicine, Messiah, or the first speech of an infant, Sklarew's work finds its roots in Judaism, a Judaism fashioned in large part by the author's own hands. Ultimately, the book is about access, about following one's own curiosity despite the obstacles that might appear along the way. And it is about a kind of belief: that nothing will be wasted, that all that we can learn will have a place in our lives eventually, though we may not know its purpose at the time.
Myra Sklarew is Professor of Literature at American University and the author of many books, including Lithuania: New and Selected Poems and The Witness Trees: Lithuania. She is the recipient of the National Jewish Book Council Award in Poetry, the Di Castagnola Award, and the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award.
"Myra Sklarew is a beautiful writer. The brilliance of her perceptions and her artful rendering of her world in all of its strangeness and mystical garb make this book a testimony to the mind and sensibility of an extraordinary woman with a far-ranging intellect." — Charlotte Goodman, Professor Emerita of English, Skidmore College
"The author's personality, as it emerges in these various writings, is extremely appealing and sympathetic. She is searching, does not shrink from self-revelation, is sensitive to the pain of the world, and, overall, is supremely perceptive and intelligent in what she has to say." — Judith R. Baskin, editor of Women of the Word: Jewish Women and Jewish Writing