Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust
Revised Second Edition
Edited by Charles Adés Fishman
Cover art by Reva Sharon
ISBN 978-156809113-6
637 pages
Time Being Books
10411 Clayton Rd. Suites 201-203
St. Louis MO 63131

Review by Laurel Johnson

To quote Charles Adés Fishman from the book's preface: "Poetry, at its best, resists abstraction and permits us to feel again, to be wounded again, and, though never entirely, to heal." This exquisite compilation of 240 poets and 400 poems fulfills Mr. Fishman's quote to perfection, presenting the contents alphabetically by poet and poems. Spectral memories are allowed to speak -- like smoke rising or prayers shouted, sung, screamed, and whispered -- and to share living history, to resurrect the disappeared geography and tribes of Europe and Eurasia.

Before and during World War II, Nazi Germany killed Jews, Gypsies and other people deemed dispensable by Hitler, but memories and the truth survived. Their spirits scattered like stars in the night sky, forever shining. The breath of lost millions mingles with the air we breathe today and their ashes still fertilize the soil of Europe. These murdered souls are fragments of Divinity, children of the God who called them "His people." In these poems, readers will find a stunning beauty gleaned from the ashes of an unspeakable evil.

The same theological questions asked sixty years ago remain unanswered today: Why did the God of Abraham and Moses hide his face? Why did He remain silent while his people were tortured, starved, gassed, and burned? Why did He not hear the collective voices of millions raised in prayers of deliverance? Perhaps those souls lost during the Holocaust know the answer to these questions, but the writers and readers of these poems remain to ask and wonder, "Where was God in the midst of this horrifying evil?"

Whether we are Jewish or not, life changed for all of us because of the Holocaust. History changed. Geography changed. The entire world changed because we lost generations of artists and artisans, geniuses and poets, statesmen and laborers. The blessed seed of Abraham, Isaac, King David, and Jesus of Nazareth, God's chosen seed, was cruelly eliminated from our midst just because Hitler decreed it. As one writer stated, "We are all tattooed." We are all marked and share in the loss.

The poets in this amazing anthology seek to educate, inform, and illuminate. Whether poignant, horrifying, or rage-filled, their poetry speaks truth. They share more information and personal testimonies in the Poets' Statements section, an exceptional addition to this book. The Glossary and Poem Notes are also helpful and packed with valuable information. Blood to Remember should be mandatory reading in every high school, college, and seminary in the world. Charles Adés Fishman has compiled a highly recommended, life-changing work here.