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Reviews

Veils, Halos & Shackles (2016) | In the Path of Lightning (2012) | In the Language of Women (2011) | Water Under Water (2009)
Chopin’s Piano (2006) | Country of Memory (2004) | The Death Mazurka (1987) | Mortal Companions (1977)
Blood to Remember (2007) | Blood to Remember (1991) | Catlives (1991) | The Work As a Whole


Newest Publication:


Veils, Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women (2016):

“This is a bridge to a brave new land, where readers may come together in support, in solidarity and warmth. The thoughts and verse in this anthology of eminent poets across the world add a resplendent glow to the word 'poetry' by upholding the truth. Each poem is accompanied by a short narration describing the circumstances that led to it. In speaking up and exposing the ominous realities shrouding a woman's existence — their own or another's — these poets have embarked on a journey of healing, inspiration and belonging.” — Anonymous review on Amazon.in, May 2016.

“This anthology is a sustained call for an intellectual and emotional uprising. It situates the reader at the heart of violence against women without ever seeming shrill or censorious. Veils, Halos & Shackles was conceived as a response to the brutal gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey on a bus in Delhi in 2012. Every poem is a response to an atrocity, every word a testimony to centuries of oppression and every testimony a “vision” and a “living force.” Pain and protest lead to healing. This anthology bears witness to the truth of that statement. I commend it to you. Read and allow yourself to be transformed.” — Rashida Murphey, Cafe Dissensus Everyday, July 2016.

"This anthology needs to be in the curriculum of colleges and universities, law enforcement academies, and women’s shelters around the world. Wherever injustice, crimes of barbaric violence, or bestial cruelty occur, this anthology should be mandatory reading. I couldn’t simply read it for review. The memories and experiences inside were shared so beautifully, ferociously, intensely that I had to savor every word. Veils, Halos and Shackles is a book of hope and courage that has the power to bring out the best in all of us." — Laurel Johnson, Midwest Book Review - Bookwatch, July 2016

Veils, Halos & Shackles is arguably the first ever anthology of international poetry to address the global issue of the oppression and empowerment of women. What the works by nearly 200 poets in this anthology make clear is that the Nirbhaya incident is by no means unique — women are subject to the same violence and atrocities wherever they live. Go slowly through Veils, Halos & Shackles’ alphabet of poets, for completing it is an act of solidarity not only with the poets who show us their own hidden scars but also with all the girls and women in our communities whose stories we do not know.” — Nola Passmore, Writing Without Paper (blog), August, 2016

“The poets have poured their hearts out with amazing clarity and emotion. It’s a heavy book of 555 pages and more than 250 poems, and it carries genuine feelings and heartfelt impressions of gender inequality, sexual violence, grief — the journey of poets who have gone through these experiences or have seen it at close quarters. As a person working closely with child sexual abuse survivors, this hit home even more, as I could relate the emotions in the book to the survivors we work with for rehabilitation.“ — Suja Son, Amazon.com, October, 2016

“The poems, with tones ranging from painful to cynical — to occasional dry wit — do not preach, reduce or generalize. They exhibit an eclectic range of experience and thought, each specified by religion, region, time and culturally precise natures of patriarchy, making a subliminal argument that while gender injustice is a global and historical phenomenon, its experience is local and specific. The poems are graphic and painful: they grab by the throat, they resurrect demons, but they also redeem with the power of the word.” — Maithreyi Karmoor, The Hindu, November 2016

"Most of the poems deal with responses to terrible violence. But there are also poems of strength and resilience. In some poems, women swallow the power of goddesses, demand to be seen, and are preserved. Some poems explore subtle, sinister violence that occurs stealthily inside homes and other places that are supposed to be safe. The words on the page lodge inside your mind, raising relentless questions of why and how such violence can even occur. But this is an anthology that should be read and reread to spread the word that such violence does not and should not have a place in this world." — Fehmida Zakeer, Bitch Media, November 2016

“[Veils, Halos & Shackles] is an anthology of protest — against not just the incidents that make the news and raise public ire, but against all those unrecorded unseen unmarked instances of daily abuse that millions of women silently accept and live with. But it is also an anthology of healing for it extracts words culled from pain and lays them out before the readers so that they may feel very real empathy for what happened. Once in a while poetics do more than speak to power. They resist the abuses of power by imaging a better world. They enable poets to claim power over experiences and stories that are frequently missing from culture at large. Fishman and Sahay's anthology is one such project." —Vinita Agrawal, Vayavya, Winter 2017.

Veils, Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women is a fascinating and an exquisite anthology of international poetry housing more than 250 poems from across the globe. The book serves the purpose of creating awareness and empowering those who have suffered abuse. Tearing the societal veils and shackles of customs, traditions, shame and guilt these poets have come together to offer these poems to lend voice to those who have none, comfort to those who have suffered abuse and hope for the future. It is an enriching contribution to scholarship on gender studies, both in India and around the world." —Sapna Dogra, Muse India, May-June 2017.


Booklength Collections:


In the Path of Lightning (2012):

"Charles Fishman’s poetry — part narrative, part concrete, part lyrical, part elegy, and part prose — is furious and justice-demanding. This is poetry of witness, not just an account but an urge to acknowledge and protest. Full of people . . . these poems turn sombre, grappling with domestic violence, sickness, death and cold-blooded murder. Even through life’s tender joys, Fishman captures its impenetrable darkness." — Smita Sahay, Pedestal Review, December 2012

“From the first poem in the collection, ‘Naomi Ades (Age 3) Falls out a Window and Sees an Angel,’ to the last, ‘Snow is the Poem without Flags,’ Charles Fishman ‘wrestle[s] with the wind’ to uncover the beauty, sweetness, longing, dreams, love, faith, desire, and joy that somehow outlive the plagues and slaughters that haunt our bones. Fishman listens to the world with a stillness and intensity most of us can’t imagine. He knows there are voices in the wind, and he hears them and listens to them, and then he tells us what they are saying in a voice so direct and selfless and loving that we feel that we ourselves are hearing these voices, and they are telling us truths that we can’t ignore." — John Guzlowski, Amazon.com, July 2015


In the Language of Women (2011):

"I received Charles Fishman’s lovely book last Wednesday, and have been reading in it ever since. I find much of it fascinating and, frankly, beautiful. Charles has an amazing sensitivity in interpreting female voices, the ability to convey experiences, scenes, emotions that move one deeply. I am honored to figure among so many eloquent women so exquisitely transformed into poetry. This is an elegant book. I hope it finds an appropriate audience!" Florence Weinberg, July 2011

"This latest collection by Charles Adès Fishman, is profound, unique, and breathtaking. Fishman has bravely chosen to gather threads of memories, dreams, and the writings of women from across the world and generations, to weave them into poems. I believe this is the first time a male poet has undertaken such a project. His poems sing with the inner music of his "sisters," as he filters their recollections through his own sensitivity. I have read and re-read these poems and each time my pleasure and amazement grows. The range of experiences that are recalled is so wide, it helps us realize how much has been lost of the lives that have been lived through the centuries by half of the human population. Fishman’s poems represent a heightened level of respect, and they are beautifully crafted.  In a time when far too much poetry is written, not about life, but about poetry, this wonderful book is a gift to a world of people longing for such wisdom and beauty." Reva Sharon, Amazon.com, August 2011

"This book is a collection of wonderful poems. The poetry honors the voice of all women with a fresh take on what it means to be female around the world, and it is apparent that the author has an appreciation of women in all settings and all life stages. Many of these poems have an undercurrent of forgiveness and faith. Some focus on an uplifting message for those who have been in love or have seen the despair of war, or who have lived lives full of regret. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys poetry."Poppy J., Amazon.com, August 13, 2011

"Dear Charles, I am enjoying In the Language of Women immensely and am so impressed by your ability to enter into the hearts and minds of all of your sister women. Each poem is a  moving story. I cannot choose a favorite because they are all so good."Sarah Moskovitz, September 2011

"Fishman gives himself over completely to the women he portrays, and he does so in a manner that is generous, expansive, and confident without a hint of arrogance. He is less interested in showcasing his own talent than he is in honoring the women of his poems. In the Language of Women is a real treasure. Before reading it, Fishman was unknown to me, but now I want to read more of his work. I have a feeling that this book is one to which I will return frequently for delight and inspiration."Michael Adams, Pedestal Magazine, October 2011


Water under Water (2009):

“James Wright once remarked that he aspired as a poet to write the poems “of a grown man.’ [In Water under Water], Charles Fishman has written an entire book of such poems — poems which, in their unflinching gaze at the sorrows and joys of relation (as son, as father, as husband, as friend, as lover) ‘give back gentleness to existence.’” — Michael Blumenthal, 1996

“These poems of recuperative memory and redemption are written out of the wounded landscape of the body and its mortality. The elements become figurative here: water, air, fire, the earth, in a language of mystery and desire. [Water under Water] is a work of great poignancy and breadth; the burning ground beneath this poet is time itself." — Carolyn Forché, 1996  

"In Water under Water, Charles Adès Fishman illuminates the web of relationships that exist between individual lives and the emotional and physical environments that shape them. In this collection of more than 60 poems, the poet takes us beneath the surfaces of things to deeper layers where memory's roots and tendrils haunt us but where change is not only possible but necessary. In one achingly beautiful poem after another, Fishman writes as son, father, guardian, husband, friend, lover . . . and as a deeply invested explorer and observer of the natural world that embraces, amazes, overwhelms, and nurtures us. Water under Water will pull you under and will release you, uplifted and renewed." — Janet Brennan, publisher’s statement, 2009

"Finding a new book of poetry by Charles Adès Fishman in my mailbox is a blessing because I know from past experience that treasure rests between the covers. In this latest book, he reveals with exceptional finesse the many layers of human existence. In fact, there are many exceptional poems in this book. Fishman's work here is memorable and highly recommended." — Laurel Johnson, Amazon.com, January, 2010

"What a treat to read Charles Fishman's latest book. A fan of Fishman's poetry, I remain impressed, not only by the brave richness of content in this recent collection, but by the ways the poet manages, with such artistic integrity, to offer wellsprings of meanings to us through a contemporary natural lens. The language of water imagery in Water under Water both engages and enlarges us." — Lou Barrett, Amazon.com, February, 2010


Chopin’s Piano (2006):

Chopin’s Piano begins with the vision of the composer’s piano being thrown out a fourth-floor window and culminates with a poem for the poet’s grandson, whose smiles “shine a clear light on the living.” The movement of this book is toward hope, despite the fact that the past keeps finding us. The poems demonstrate the poet’s range and his ability to speak in many voices —from his narration on the Jews of medieval Spain in ‘Toledo’ and his tribute to Federico García Lorca, to the cinematic ‘A Child’s Tale,’ which reveals the interior world of a Japanese boy who escapes the atomic bombing of his city. Charles Fishman engraves indelibly the ravages of the Holocaust, Hiroshima, and the Israeli wars and — in colors reminiscent of Chagall’s stained glass Jerusalem windows — portrays those he loves and mourns in images that are haunting. In the wasteland of the post-war half-century, the poet is there, unforgettably, rejoicing when he can and agonizing when he has reached ‘The Place of Burning.’” — Cover statement by Lynn Strongin

Chopin's Piano is not a book for poets and poetry lovers only. This is a book that should be read in schools, in libraries, in museums, and in the sanctuary of our homes. There are plenty of historical books on the Holocaust, but the clinical approach those books offer doesn't necessarily splice the soul like an honest book of poetry will. Chopin's Piano is that book; its poetry sings, it weeps, it accuses, it forgives and it heals. This is truly the best book of poetry I have read in years.” — Mia Jones, Tryst Magazine, April 2006
 
“I thought I had read everything anyone had to say about the Holocaust, and I thought I no longer wanted to read anything about the Holocaust, so your book had to reach me on many levels. It told me there should be no moratorium on witnessing, because the killing isn’t over. Even if it must be said again and again, and I am resistant, your poetry moved me, and made me listen, and grieve anew. I haven’t heard it said in just this way. I believe it took a lot of courage to immerse yourself in that hell again, and I thank you for it, and for the book’s existence.” — Florence Weinberger

“The poems in Charles Fishman’s newest collection, Chopin’s Piano, reflect the poet’s fierce determination to look into the eyes of evil. These poems take on the past, facing historical and cultural demons, and thereby dare the reader to do the same. For this reader, Chopin's Piano is an ‘offering of refuge’ in the landscape of contemporary poetry. It comes wholeheartedly recommended.” — Lois Roma-Deeley, Pedestal Magazine, June 2006

“No modern poet shares his essence with greater generosity than Charles Fishman. His spirit burns with rage and grieves with inexpressible sorrow; his book is glorious and beautiful, haunting and horrifying. Every place humans starve, burn, or wither, Fishman’s heart is there. From the dark days of Hitler to the present, he mourns the losses and counts humanity’s cost. His words are a ram’s horn, a Shofar, a heart bringing truth out of darkness. If you value poetry as a priceless gift to humanity, Chopin’s Piano is a must have, a must read.” — Laurel Johnson, Quill, Summer 2006

“Though taking place over a half century ago, the horrors of the Holocaust and Hiroshima become as alive as yesterday's rain in Mr. Fishman's able depictions based on the testimony, witness, and memory of those with a terrible knowledge and experience. Humanity's brutality is also explored in the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the death of Lorca, and violence in the Holy Land. Grim subjects all. The art is in the telling: a simple declarative tone mixed with vivid imagery; a style of calculation: dare to turn your face and heart away while the poet rivets you with a storyteller's skill.” — Iconoclast, September 2006

Chopin’s Piano is a haunting slide show of the brutality human beings are capable of perpetrating upon one another. Fishman’s graphic poems capture our attention like CNN breaking news alerts of helicopters shot down in Iraq. The poems are vital; they are important; they are sensitive and show great psychological insight.” — Ada Jill Schneider, Midstream, November/December 2007

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Country of Memory (2004):

“Charles Fishman uses words like a jackhammer, a searchlight, a scalpel, and a lover’s hand. If you love poetry, you need to read Country of Memory.” — Laurel Johnson, Quill, Summer 2004

“Who reads these poems will read a man, a very good man, a man reflecting on his family and his life as a poet, and on the world which he makes more beautiful and more memorable with his words. These poems are a special gift to those who love words and life and poetry.” — S. Friedman (Israel), Amazon.com, June 2005

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The Death Mazurka (1987, 1989):

“An outstanding book of poems, The Death Mazurka is entirely focused on the murder of Jews. Of immediate importance, it offers a difficult but accessible vision of one man dancing against severest oppression. These poems are courageous, direct, and deeply moving responses to the Holocaust, and their strength is that they are redemptive and not forbidding.” — Choice, April 1988

“These poems are beyond sadness and beyond anger. In their single-mindedness, in their sheer accumulation, they are terrifying, and pure. Fishman has done the unthinkable. He has written an entire book about the murder of the Jews. It is a delicate book, and dramatic and exciting. Most of all, it is brave.” — Gerald Stern, University of Iowa

“In his powerful and important book of poems, The Death Mazurka, Charles Fishman courageously makes Jewishness universal in these times. Out of images of common flesh, Fishman molds stunning dark beauty.” — Leo Connellan

“Charles Fishman's poetry is direct, captivating, philosophical, splendidly evocative of not only the Holocaust but of deep perceptions about life and death, what it is to be mortal. The Death Mazurka is a poet's assessment of the human condition.” — Richard Eberhart

“The poems of The Death Mazurka are responses to the Holocaust, poems of destruction and survival. They are delicate, fierce, touching, somber, bitter, horrible, dark, heavy. And yet they are somehow filled with grace. And, unbelievably, with hope. Fishman manages in the poems to convey the pain of the Holocaust — pain for all people — while helping us to be healed and look forward.” — David Romtvedt

“Charles Fishman's challenges in this tour-de-force collection of poems are manifold. Although he succeeds in conveying the mixed emotions that arise from the contemplation of lives like Dr. {Janusz} Korczak's, and in resisting powerful temptations to sentimentalize, Mr. Fishman's many successes would be worthless if he had failed at his greatest challenge, to capture our attention. Mr. Fishman knows this. He knows that if he is to reach any audience at all, his poetry cannot afford to be anything less than the best, and in this, he does not disappoint.” — Jonathan Daunt, Pacific International (premier issue, Spring 1993)
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Mortal Companions (1977):

“Some of the poems are mysterious novels-in-little; some are a frightening music. Indeed, they all frighten.  Panic-poems. They express my spine. You will make us respond to beauty. Your language is often and often beautiful, and often and often daring.” — Cynthia Ozick

“The final effect of Mortal Companions is a curious mix of bone-deep sadness and sustained vitality. For though the struggle be long and hard and uphill all the way, in the very act of writing these poems, in trying to grapple with and rise above the flawed world and the flawed lives we inhabit, Fishman insists on the validity of human dignity.” — W. D. Ehrhart, WIN, February 1978

“[Fishman] emerges as an astonishing craftsman and a human being of unusual sensitivity, empathy, and courage. These poems show us how to grieve.”  — Brown Miller, Small Press Review, May 1978 

...
Other Anthologies:


Blood to Remember (2007):

“This amazing compendium of poems is a testament not only to the power of the Holocaust over living memory, but also to the power of poetry. It is an honor and a privilege to ‘review’ such a book, and one handles it with almost the same reverence with which one would handle the Torah.” — Nikki Stiller, Home Planet News, September 2007

“From Marjorie Agosín, the Chilean daughter of Jewish refugees from Odessa and Vienna, to John Ciardi, Anthony Hecht, Philip Levine and Barnett Zumoff, the famed New York Albert Einstein professor of endocrinology, the sheer brilliance of dozens of poets in 478 pages defies description. What's almost as amazing, though, is the labor and love that went into an almost letter-perfect copy — with not a single typographical error yet found in hundreds of poems, footnotes, biographical notes and acknowledgments. Without a doubt, this 630-plus page compilation of Holocaust poems is the most remarkable literary feat of this memorial genre I'm privileged to own.” — Alyssa A. Lappen, Amazon.com, October 2007

“The poets in this amazing anthology seek to educate, inform, and illuminate. Whether poignant, horrifying, or rage-filled, their poetry speaks truth. The Glossary and Poem Notes are helpful and packed with valuable information. Blood to Remember should be mandatory reading in every high school, college, and seminary in the world. Charles Adès Fishman has compiled a highly recommended, life changing work here.” — Laurel Johnson, Midwest Book Review, November 2007

“The second edition of Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust, edited by Charles Adès Fishman,is an important book. Important, of course, because of its subject. But also important because of the voices it contains, the testimonies it raises, the memories it enshrines, the issues it forces us to confront. In Blood to Remember the living speak for the dead, and therefore the dead are not forgotten, cannot be forgotten, will not be forgotten. Blood to Remember is not a book that I can ‘recommend’ on some sort of star system. Itis not a book to be ‘recommended,’ but quite simply a book that must be read. This is a book of human compassion for human beings, and of our ultimate responsibility to each other.” — Michael Burch, TheHyperTexts.com, November 2007

“Charles Fishman's anthology Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (newly published in a revised edition by Time Being Books) is a massive collection containing many fine poems. These poems speak to us with renewed urgency in a time when an effort is being made to wipe out memory. As a monument to the dead of the Holocaust, Blood to Remember is also a testament to poetry's vital role as a keeper of memory.” — Esther Cameron, The Deronda Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, Fall-Winter 2007

“Building on the successful first edition of this anthology, Fishman adds to the present edition important voices (including Marge Piercy, Jacqueline Osherow, Jerome Rothenberg, and Marjorie Agosin); devotes ample space to the voices of younger poets; and incorporates many different works by poets earlier represented. Unlike anthologies that focus on writers who experienced the Holocaust directly, this collection reveals the indirect impact of the Holocaust on Americans — Jews and gentiles, the children and grandchildren (and distant relatives) of victims and survivors, and those whose connection to the Holocaust has come from testimony, literature, and film. These poets pay tribute to named victims and allude to influential works by Elie Wiesel, Etty Hillesum, Miklós Radnóti, Giorgio Bassani, Claude Landsman, Paul Celan, and Tadeusz Borowski, among others. Evoking Holocaust geography from the ghettos and transit camps of Vilna, Łódź, and Westerbork to the concentration and death camps of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Terezin, and Treblinka to the Ponar killing fields, the poets bear eloquent and poignant witness to the slaughter of European Jewry. Of immense value are the poets’ statements and the biographies, editorial notes, and glossary. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers, all levels.” — S. L. Kremer, professor emerita, Kansas State University, Choice, April 2008

“The poems alone make this book essential reading. The accompanying glossaries (of some basic Holocaust terminology), notes to poems (which provide notes to less-familiar places and terms used in each poem), exhaustive list of cited sources and double index by poem and by author make Blood to Remember an essential piece of Holocaust scholarship in the field of humanities. Particularly, the statements by several poets explaining their connections to the Holocaust and the stories behind each of their poems make this book stand out among volumes of Holocaust poetry. By letting poets share these experiences, statements, thoughts and prayers, editor Charles Adès Fishman has made a remarkable attempt to restore the dignity and humanity of the Holocaust’s victims. He has also made an important contribution to this area of scholarship, by allowing poets to present different reasons for writing (and for being reticent to write) poetry about the Holocaust. Given the enormity of this genocide and the repercussions that will haunt humanity forever, this is a discussion all facets of the arts must have. Blood to Remember is not a beautiful collection. Like many of its poets, I am uncomfortable applying these and most other aesthetic judgments to work that attempts to document such a horrific time. It is, however, a necessary one — and one that I think every poet and historian should read. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I also think it is one that any literate citizen should read. The Holocaust is something that has affected and will continue to affect those living now and our descendants. It is our legacy. And while poetry about the Holocaust cannot erase such horrors, it can give us the tools to begin thinking about the Holocaust in more human and humane terms. We still need poetry after Auschwitz. And thank God that we have poetry such as this.” — JoSelle Vanderhooft, Pedestal Magazine, Issue 44, Feb.-April 2008

Blood to Remember is an amazing compilation of poems. One poet, I forget who now, said something about making a perfect world out of the materials of hell. That's my overall impression of the book: you have created perfection from the materials of hell. Unlike so many anthologies that try to pack in the maximum number of stellar names, yours gives voice to a variety of poets, and that is a wonderful thing. The point is to be included, to have a place in history, to be documented, heard. I don't think I have ever seen a volume of poetry that signals the reader that the stanza continues on the next page. I find this an incredibly moving gesture. So many of the poets speak of having their (or their relatives') speech stopped. Your statement of stanza continuity respectfully extends their voices, makes them coherent and real. The glossary will help the casual reader to understand history more completely, and the poets' statements are often as poignant as their poems.” — Kathleen Horan, Branch Manager, McAllen, Texas, Public Library

“Charles Adès Fishman’s riveting edition of American poets on the Holocaust, Blood to Remember, reverberates with felt history and provides a unique and intimate way to comprehend the Shoah. Through art, American poets give clear evidence of the tension that exists between our growing distance from the event and our need to preserve and grasp it fully. What of our civilization? They make us accountable. Blood to Remember should occupy a shelf in every American home, school and library.” — Lou Barrett, Midstream, Vol. LIV, November/December 2008


Blood to Remember (1991):

“Despite its horrific subject matter, Charles Fishman’s collection of Holocaust poems finds its way to beauty through the transforming power of art. Unrelenting in its refusal to compromise with the facts of history, these poems, through their sheer integrity, lend new credence to Keats’ old formula, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty.’” — Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter 1991

Blood to Remember is not just another anthology; it is a wrenching, powerful experience. Fishman deserves praise and gratitude for ferreting out these talented soloists and creating a mighty chorus to serve as a worthy memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.” — Haim Chertok, Hadassah Magazine, April 1992

“This volume, with its close to 200 works, recalling various phases and aspects of this dread event, is both a lament and historical treatise, a catharsis and accusatory document. In Professor Fishman's words, this is intended as the ‘record of our human refusal to forget what has wounded us beyond repair.’ There is little question that he has succeeded admirably.” — Sidney Moskowitz, Rockland Center for Holocaust Studies newsletter, April 1992

“The sacred duty of Holocaust remembrance — commemorating the dead, honoring the living, and posing the pertinent theological, ethical, and political questions generated by the Holocaust — is the substance of Charles Fishman's compelling collection of American Holocaust poetry. Fishman successfully assembles works that render a historically remote and often painfully resisted subject in a manner that makes the catastrophe real. One is grateful for the book’s sound critical notes, its exploration of the moral implications of the Holocaust and problematics of writing Holocaust poetry, and its witness to the terrifying truths of human history while asserting the indestructibility of the human spirit. Highly recommended.” — S. L. Kremer, Kansas State University, Choice, Jul/Aug '92

“This anthology of American Holocaust poetry will be welcomed by both teachers and students, as well as by those merely curious about the Shoah’s resonance in the poetic imagination. Furthermore, its sheer comprehensiveness will make this book a valuable addition to any library.” — Stephen Haynes, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3  Winter 1993

“In this compelling work, Charles Fishman draws together an extraordinary and rich chorus of voices that represent the American response to the Holocaust. This arresting collection seems to come from the soul of a single nameless author. The book tracks the Holocaust from the terrifying pogrom known as Kristallnacht, through the horrifying trail across Europe, to the present. Together, these voices form an eloquent and muscular witness. Like so many who have lost relatives they never knew, I as an American Jew am forever touched by the Holocaust and am thankful to Charles for his heroic perseverance in assembling this collection and for the chance to be a part of it.” — Mark Nepo

“This powerful collection speaks directly to our present task in relation to the Holocaust: how to bring that historically distant event into our immediate sense of our own lives. The rich and varied voices make the past palpable, painful, and real. This text cuts through the bone and to the heart. We should all be grateful for it.” — Roger S. Gottlieb

“Enter with caution. Reading Charles Fishman’s Blood to Remember can be a difficult, even wrenching, experience. The poets collected here face Adorno’s charge — that writing ‘poetry’ after Auschwitz is barbaric, yet these American responses to the Holocaust, far-ranging in their poetic voices and forms, confirm that poetry can dispel the stupor of historical amnesia. Imagining the unimaginable, uttering the unutterable, they restore faith in memory and reaffirm their role as its powerful guide. If you doubt poetry’s ability to speak history — read this book.” — Robert Franciosi

...
Translations:

 
Catlives (1991):

“The translations are wonderful, as I wouldn’t have believed it possible. Thank you so much for the work and, also, for refurnishing my little flowers so carefully with their right names.” — Sarah Kirsch

“Marina Roscher and Charles Fishman have succeeded marvelously in transferring the German into English. The translations have given us a stylistically accurate and poetically true version of an excellent book.” — Hans Juergensen

“Reading this rhythmically faithful and inspired translation of Katzenleben, I kept feeling that I was in the voice-presence of one of the holy mad. I will not be able to forget this haunted, poignant, fully human book.” — William Heyen

...

“Charles Fishman writes an exceptionally resonant and lyrical poetry of the night and all that we associate with darkness: the human inability to see and understand, especially the great suffering of others. He reifies and humanizes the darkness of historic tragedy with its cold-blooded statistics.” — Gayle Teller

“Charles Fishman, a man devoted to remembering the Holocaust and its victims, is a lyric poet whose poems I identify as Jewish in the most profound sense. The poet is an elegiac poet and one who is primarily anxious and urgent and angry with history. For this poet, the family is central, and the cultural standards are prophetic anticipation and a kind of messianic hopelessness. The age, for this poet, is always dark. And his poems compete with this darkness.” — David Shapiro

“As I see it, you are the great poet of Judaism today as Nelly Sachs was in her day. Your most passionate poems speak of and from the profound experience of being a Jew in the Twentieth Century.” — Lynn Strongin

“Charles Fishman is a great poet. In an age of creeping relativism, aesthetic and otherwise, this is probably a suspect, not to mention a politically incorrect, statement. We’ve been conditioned to believe that there are no truly legendary or iconic poets anymore. After all, they all died out, those true literary giants, with the end of Modernism — didn’t they? The Williamses and the Stevenses and the Eliots. But the fact is that Charles Fishman is a great poet, a contemporary Eliot struggling to make sense out of the Wasteland of our age, which is still, indubitably, the Holocaust. And, frankly, he succeeds.” — Terri Brown-Davidson, Pedestal Magazine, June 2005

“Charles Fishman has the remarkable power of giving every thought a physical presence on the page.” — David Ignatow

“It’s certainly been a pleasure and an honor to work with you. You’re one of a handful of poets I know whose work goes beyond mere art to becoming a force. Poetry that can change a man’s heart or his conviction or his sense of history perhaps in the end can change the world.” — Michael Burch, Publisher, The Hypertexts, January 2006

“When I first bought and read a copy of Charles Fishman’s The Death Mazurka, an early book of his poems on the Holocaust, I was floored. I had been writing poems about my parents and their experiences in the Nazi slave labor camps for a number of years, and I knew that writing such poems was hard, because writing about horror is hard. Horror can strip everything away, the humanity of those you’re writing about, your own abilities as a writer, your own humanity. And Charles Fishman wrote about horror in that book. He wrote about the really terrible things we do to each other, but he did it in such a way that you never forgot that the people he was writing about were still human. Reading his other books, I’ve come to believe that this is his great gift as a writer. The people he writes about are not victims or monsters, not poster children for this cause or that, not caricatures in any way. Reading his poems, you see the horror clearly and directly, and you see that this horror is happening to a person, and you feel connected with this person. This is Charles Fishman’s gift, and he offers it to us on every page he writes.”  —  John Guzlowski, April 2007

“Charles Fishman listens to the world with a stillness and intensity most of us can’t imagine. He knows there are voices in the wind, and he hears them and listens to them, and then he tells us what they are saying in a voice so direct and selfless and loving that we feel that we ourselves are hearing those voices.” —  John Guzlowski, April 2007

"Charles Fishman's poems are deep, sensual, musical, and fully alive. Each one rings true." —  Denise Levertov

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