Yonat Hafft­ka
  • Review
By – March 9, 2012

Some of the poems in this col­lec­tion bring sur­re­al­is­tic paint­ings to mind delib­er­ate­ly, I imag­ine, as the grotesque imag­in­ings seem to rep­re­sent the cur­rent adult world today, as in the poem Out of Burnt Skins, where Hafft­ka writes: 

I rise out of burnt skins Not a boy, not a girl, Into a con­fused world of Aching men and wast­ed women. 

And these images are con­trast­ed with Hafftka’s oth­er poems which express the yearn­ing for the beau­ty and sim­plic­i­ty of remem­bered childhood: 

Let me go To the womb’s cave Deep­er and clos­er, Down the steps, the walls Cov­ered with gar­dens I wish I owned. 

The over­lay of melan­choly extends to her philo­soph­i­cal poems as well, which con­cern the reflec­tions of those in their for­ties who are begin­ning to assess their lives;

Man­ner­ism has as strong a hold at forty As need had in the days of dependency.” 

The rue­ful atti­tude is also appar­ent in the wise obser­va­tion that Advice accen­tu­ates lack of sym­pa­thy.” Her per­cep­tion com­bined with a sen­si­tive long­ing for the ide­al gives her poet­ry substance.

Eleanor Ehrenkranz received her Ph.D. from NYU and has taught at Stern Col­lege, NYU, Mer­cy Col­lege, and at Pace Uni­ver­si­ty. She has lec­tured wide­ly on Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture and recent­ly pub­lished anthol­o­gy of Jew­ish poet­ry, Explain­ing Life: The Wis­dom of Mod­ern Jew­ish Poet­ry, 1960 – 2010.

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