Synopses & Reviews
Dramatically urgent from the get-go, many of Jacqueline Osherow’s poems approach inconsistencies and mysteries in Biblical texts. From traditional poetic forms (sonnet, terza rima, villanelle, sestina, acrostic, loose ottava rima) to an austere free verse, Osherow mixes humor and seriousness while maintaining a conversational tone. These poems deal with Jewish tradition and the land of Israel in revelatory new ways.
Jacqueline Osherow is the author of four previous poetry collections. Her work has appeared in The Norton Anthology of Jewish American Literature, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, Best American Poetry (1995 and 1998) and The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women. Awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA. She is a distinguished professor of English at the University of Utah.
"Osherow (Looking for Angels in New York) spans Jewish history from Abraham's times to modern Orthodoxy, then wonders what makes her so interested in the 'perfect and elusive reverence' shown by the most observant Jews: 'I have no right to this ridiculous/ nostalgia for a thing I never had.' By contrast to her own uncertainties, Osherow calls on biblical prophets and poets from several traditions: the stringent Hosea and Jeremiah lead her into gloom, while more hopeful stanzas imagine a dialogue between the Yiddish poet Jacob Glatstein and the Chinese classical poet Wang Wei. Other locale-based poems admire the prairie flowers of Saskatchewan and mock (gently) Salt Lake City, where Osherow lives. Her often deft handling of difficult forms (including a double sestina, a villanelle, several sonnets and page after page of terza rima) balances out her informal, even chatty, tone: the result (as in the work of Marilyn Hacker) is a poet who offers opinions and reactions to the weightiest questions of history and religion, while sounding less like an authority than like a particularly well-traveled friend." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Poems dealing with the land of Israel, and inconsistencies and mysteries in Biblical texts.
About the Author
JACQUELINE OSHEROW is the author of four previous books of poems. Her work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of Jewish-American Poetry, Best American Poetry, Best Contemporary Jewish Writing, and The Extraordinary Tide: New Poems by American Women. She is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Utah.