The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards

Rachel Men­nies
  • From the Publisher
December 22, 2015

In her first poet­ry col­lec­tion, Rachel Men­nies chron­i­cles a young woman’s rela­tion­ship with a com­pli­cat­ed God, craft­ing a nuanced world that reck­ons with its past as much as it yearns for a new and dif­fer­ent future. These poems cel­e­brate rit­u­al, love, and female sex­u­al­i­ty; they bear wit­ness to a dark his­to­ry, and intro­duce us to our God, the / col­lec­tor of sto­ries / and bod­ies,” a force some­how respon­si­ble for both death and lib­er­a­tion. Here, Men­nies exam­ines sur­vival, assim­i­la­tion, and inter­mar­riage, sub­jects bound togeth­er by com­plex, if some­times com­pro­mised, ties to the speaker’s Judaism. Through wit and care­ful prosody, The Glad Hand of God Points Back­wards lays bare the strug­gles and tri­umphs expe­ri­enced through a teenage girl’s com­ing of age, show­ing the read­er what it means to become — and remain — a Jew­ish woman in America.

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