Synopses & Reviews
With Dead Men's Praise, Jacqueline Osherow gives us her fourth and most ambitious collection yet. Her hybrid inspiration ranges from Dante's terza rima, to free verse, to biblical psalms, while always keeping the voice of casual conversation. In the book's centerpiece, "Scattered Psalms," Osherow takes on the Hebrew psalms, the lyric heart of both the English and Jewish literary traditions out of which her writing comes. Combining the self-mocking inflections of Yiddish jokes with the pure lyric inspiration of biblical poetry, these poems range from Italian hill towns to Los Angeles contemporary art installations to the vanished Jewish world of the Ukraine, from imaginings of the future to recovery of the past. Her distinctive voice becomes a seemingly impossible fusion of the sublime and the down-to-earth.