by Anna Rabinowitz
“Darkling is a book-length sequence of elegiac fragments, obsessive ruminations on the lives of the poet’s Polish-Jewish parents, grandparents, as well as her own, filtered through the eyes of an extraordinarily clear-eyed contemporary witness.”
In this stunning follow-up to her prizewinning debut collection (At the Site of Inside Out), Anna Rabinowitz has created a braided and woven language from the turbulence of multiple voices in the act of finding themselves.
Darkling is a book-length acrostic sequence, a poem of accretion, of fragmented self and culture. Seeking its own process and form, it assembles narrative by way of antiphony, counterpoint, meditation, chant, repetition and epistle.
How does a contemporary poet speak in the aftermath of the Holocaust? Is it possible to evoke, perhaps even reactualize, through language, rhythms, and imagery, intimations of the past when factual details are largely lost? Can new constructs of language be generated within the constraints of a received form?
Anna Rabinowitz unflinchingly takes on these questions as she looks back on the ruptured history of the 20th century. Drawing on literary roots Thomas Hardy’s The Darkling Thrush and the ancient acrostic form she has shaped an utterly original, deeply personal work which is both armature and repository for an emotionally charged language called upon to articulate that which cannot be fully spoken.
With Darkling, Anna Rabinowitz brilliantly demonstrates that one can, indeed, write poetry after the Holocaust.
“Darkling is a book-length sequence of elegiac fragments, obsessive ruminations on the lives of the poet’s Polish-Jewish parents, grandparents, as well as her own, filtered through the eyes of an extraordinarily clear-eyed contemporary witness.” —Marjorie Perloff
New from the author of At The Site of Inside Out, winner of the Juniper Prize
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A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Anna Rabinowitz has published four volumes of poetry: Present Tense, The Wanton Sublime: A Florilegium of Whethers and Wonders, Darkling: A Poem, and At the Site of Inside Out.
She has written the librettos for The Wanton Sublime, a monodrama with original music by Tarik O’Regan, and Darkling, a multi-media opera with music by Stefan Weisman. Darkling excerpts have been performed in many venues, and a full-length production ran for three weeks Off-Broadway. A semi-staged concert version traveled to Europe. Darkling’s latest incarnations are a CD from Albany Records, and a bi-lingual German-English translation from Luxbooks, Weisbaden, Germany.
She has published widely in such journals as Atlantic Monthly, Boston Review, The Paris Review, Colorado Review, Southwest Review, Denver Quarterly, Sulfur, LIT, VOLT, and Verse. Her poetry has appeared in the anthologies, The Best American Poetry 1989, edited by Donald Hall, Life on the Line: Selections on Words and Healing, The KGB Bar Reader, The Poets’ Grimm, Poetry Daily, Poetry After 9/11, Blood to Remember, Women Poets on Mentorship, and Aftershocks: The Poetry of Recovery.
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (2001)
Juniper Prize (1997)
“This dense, unsettling volume makes a unique contribution to Holocaust literature.” says Publishers Weekly in a short but powerful review.
Time Out New York Associate Music Editor Steve Smith reflects on Darkling in his February 27, 2006 blog entry.