Historical events, however consequential, reduce easily to abstractions that quantify rather than qualify. Statistics, however disturbing, distance us from the responses that they should elicit. Lest we become anesthetized, we turn to fiction or poetry, to searing imagery and compression of language that crystallize for us the immeasurable elements of historic tragedy. A delicate and brave retelling of the Holocaust, The Death Mazurka rediscovers the human equation—numbers assume faces in a catalog of events that dance hauntingly before us. As the most humanistic of histories, this tight cycle of poems is riveting; as art, it engraves an unforgettable portrait of pain and beauty. What Charles Fishman has choreographed, memory will not relinquish.
Literature-Fiction, Poetry, American,