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Memories Like Burrs
Gertrude Halstead
Poetry. Pushcart Prize nominee Gertrude Halstead's volume of poems, MEMORIES LIKE BURRS, illumines the ways in which memories, whether harrowing or hopeful, both haunt and, eventually, become us: "memories/ like burrs// thistles/ cling// embedded// become/ part of// the hem." Having been interned in Camp Gurs (along with about 4000 German Jewish refugees termed "enemy aliens") in France, Halstead's poems vividly evoke personal tragedy, but refuse to become lost in the darkness: "i paint trenches/ i paint the charred// ribcage of my father's house// i paint the dead ashgray// and the light/ always the light." Halstead's minimalist poetry recapitulates this play between darkness and light in its form as well, and, in her own words "let(s) the language breathe."
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