Threshold by Shirley Kaufman

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Synopsis

Shirley Kaufman has long been a house favorite at Copper Canyon, and we’re celebrating her new book with a special price of $12.00.

Born in the United States, Shirley Kaufman has lived for the past 20 years in Jerusalem, a city split by cultural and religious fault lines. In direct, sensitive language, Kaufman’s poems occupy the shifting border between ordinary life and violence, Palestinian and Jew, young love and aging companionship. They grapple with the meaning of routine, of family, and of life among a daily existence punctured with bombs.

Sometimes I need to be nowhere. A place
without history.
A life of wandering
like the desert generation of Moses.
The wandering Jew. But that brings me
back into history.
Sealed rooms. Windows
criss-crossed with tape so the glass won’t shatter.
A dark noose of memory around my neck.
Coffins covered with flags and flags
burning. I need to be nowhere.
—from "Sanctum"

"There’s such solidity to Shirley Kaufman’s writing. . . . You feel in conversation with someone wise and passionate, someone you can trust."—Poetry Flash

"Kaufman’s poems flourish in the spaces between what is familiar and unfamiliar, between life in Israel and life in the U.S., and in those moments when the differences between Palestinians and Jews, mothers and daughters, history and the immediate moment play themselves out."—American Book Review

"Kaufman is adept at revealing the human face behind politics, carefully accumulating familiar details to make a large portrait."—Publishers Weekly

Shirley Kaufman is the author of seven books of poetry and several translations from the Hebrew. Her awards include the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. A native of Seattle, Kaufman now lives in Jerusalem.

 

About Shirley Kaufman

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Shirley Kaufman is the author of seven books of poetry and several translations from the Hebrew. Her awards include the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. A native of Seattle, Kaufman now makes her home in Jerusalem.
 
Published May 1, 2003 by Copper Canyon Press. 96 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Threshold

Publishers Weekly

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Many of these 68 poems, often a page or two long, are set in Jerusalem, and cascade down the page in short hemistichs that shape themselves, via thick margins and alternating right and left justification, into thin columns of sparse text, simultaneously spacious and constrained, like the city its...

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The Akron Beacon Journal

A review tape of ''Ghost Whisperer'' arrived today, all set for review before its premiere on Friday.

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