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Poetry Canadian

Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds

Poetry New & Selected

by (author) J.J. Steinfeld

Ekstasis Editions
Initial publish date
Nov 2014
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2014
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Is History amenable to notions of redemption, healing, and forgiveness? Or is such just an illusion, if not a lie? J.J. Steinfeld’s potent poetry bears witness to the second possibility. The son of Holocaust survivors, he cannot—does not—will not adopt either the “forget” or the “forgive” nostrums with which calamitous History is supposedly resolved. Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds is an archive of unimaginable horrors that are rendered both unforgettable and unforgivable. That the perpetrators of industrial-scale genocide are dead does not make them unassailable; that their victims are also deceased does not make their witness less salient. These are truths that Steinfeld pursues through verse that sounds agonies and anxieties. In these poems, the Post-Holocaust period reads as an existential confrontation between those who are determined to remember and to remind and those who wish to render the mass destruction of human beings as merely a policy of the past, suitable for popular consumption—i.e. entertainment—now. The jolting insistence of these poems is that the Third Reich cannot be exorcized or the Holocaust excised from our daily consciousness. —George Elliott Clarke

About the author

Poet, fiction writer, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published twenty-two books: two novels, Our Hero in the Cradle of Confederation (1987) and Word Burials (2009), thirteen short story collections—The Apostate's Tattoo (1983), Forms of Captivity and Escape (1988), Unmapped Dreams (1989), The Miraculous Hand and Other Stories (1991), Dancing at the Club Holocaust (1993), Disturbing Identities (1997), Should the Word Hell be Capitalized? (1999), Anton Chekhov was Never in Charlottetown (2000), Would You Hide Me? (2003), A Glass Shard and Memory (2010), Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (2015), An Unauthorized Biography of Being (2016), and Gregor Samsa Was Never in The Beatles (2019)—and seven poetry collections, An Affection for Precipices (2006), Misshapenness (2009), Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds (2014), Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (2017), A Visit to the Kafka Café (2018), Morning Bafflement and Timeless Puzzlement (2020), and Somewhat Absurd, Somehow Existential (2021).

J.J. Steinfeld's profile page

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