Khurbn, Jerome Rothenberg's precisely personal, horrifying, tender, and structurally astute masterpiece, is the great middle-length (40 pages) poem of our times. The Jewish agony in the Nazi killing centers has been researched, testified to, and documented; Khurbn is the first poem I know of to engage this agony emotionally, intellectually, and imaginatively. Hearing Rothenberg read it two years ago, I felt the eels of the brutalized, invisible for forty-five years, begin to move under my skin.
—Clayton Eshleman

Khurbn And Other Poems

Poetry by Jerome Rothenberg

In Yiddish, khurbn is the word for “total destruction,” the word for what the English-speaking world calls the Jewish “Holocaust” of World War II. In 1987, thirteen years after the publication of his book of ancestral poems, Poland/1931, Jerome Rothenberg visited Poland and the small town of Ostrow-Mazowiecka, from which his parents had emigrated in 1920. “I hadn’t realized,” he writes, “that it was only fifteen miles from Treblinka…” Out of the poet’s confrontation with his family’s annihilation came Khurbn & Other Poems. “The poems that I first began to hear at Treblinka are the clearest message I have ever gotten about why I write poetry. They are an answer also to the proposition that poetry cannot or should not be written after Auschwitz.” For decades a leader of the American literary avant-garde, Rothenberg, with Khurbn & Other Poems, adds his voice to those writers, like Paul Celan and Edmond Jabes, who have sought to name the unnamable at the ruinous heart of the history of our time.

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Paperback (published October 1, 1989)

ISBN
9780811211093

Clothbound (published October 1, 1989)

ISBN
9780811211086
Price US
12.95

Jerome Rothenberg

Contemporary American poet

Khurbn, Jerome Rothenberg's precisely personal, horrifying, tender, and structurally astute masterpiece, is the great middle-length (40 pages) poem of our times. The Jewish agony in the Nazi killing centers has been researched, testified to, and documented; Khurbn is the first poem I know of to engage this agony emotionally, intellectually, and imaginatively. Hearing Rothenberg read it two years ago, I felt the eels of the brutalized, invisible for forty-five years, begin to move under my skin.
—Clayton Eshleman