Q. Well, that brings us to the question of Testimony: The United States, Charles Reznikoff wrote at length in verse of the black experience in America. Testimony [Charles Reznikoff, Eliot Weinberger] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A major work by an essential American poet, published. The Review: Testimony by Charles Reznikoff on Brick | Charles Reznikoff's Testimony may be one of the most influential obscure works of.


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Jacket 30 - July - Edmund Hardy: Grass Anti-Epic: Charles Reznikoff's "Testimony"

Reznikoff the author does not editorialize and does not even head his poems with titles that might obliquely suggest a stance. Nor did he charles reznikoff testimony behind a body of essays or criticism that might tell us more about his motivations.


This ambiguity has given rise to two readings: There are certainly persuasive reasons to read him in this way: His work often broaches personal charles reznikoff testimony familial experiences of anti-Semitism.

He also used the compositional techniques of Testimony to address Judaism and the Jewish experience.

Charles Reznikoff | Poetry Foundation

He adapted biblical materials to retell the story of David in King David and used transcripts from the Nuremberg trials to compose Holocaust. His wife, Marie Syrkin, was an important American Zionist. Though Judaism is not a subject much addressed in Testimony, the work demands to be situated in some moral context.

To them, it suggests that legal source material can be used by poets to confront political charles reznikoff testimony, often in a way that permits the poet to take a strong position.

Charles Reznikoff

charles reznikoff testimony It is an engaging work addressing the aspects of law that are elided in Testimony. The book smells of the courtroom and is full of procedures, rulings, statements, and quotations.


This is frequently true of contemporary documentary poetry: At times, particularly in those poems which record the experience of living in the Jewish urban ghettoes of the early s, there is a stifling, pervasive claustrophobia: The great anxiety of city life, of things going on behind one's back, that one is essentially left out or that reasons for what has happened to one are not to be found in this life--these themes are nowhere presented more effectively than in Charles reznikoff testimony.

Again, it is as much craft as content which produces the effect. The reader is made to feel the flow of event go by, to participate only as a witness.

There are no imperial gestures in the language, barely an attempt to explain, let alone interpret. This restrained use of language marks Reznikoff's entire corpus.

In such works as Holocaust and Testimony, the refinement of Reznikoff's method reaches an austere and heightened level. These works, edited from court testimony, trial records and historical documents, seem at first to be charles reznikoff testimony we have come to call "found poems" if such material in its sheer poetic recalcitrance can be called poetry.

For it is the selection and arrangement alone, i.

Testimony, by Charles Reznikoff - Commentary Magazine

Yet, other than their presentness, the author's relation to the materials is not to be discovered. The total burden of interpretation appears to be left to the reader; there is, by charles reznikoff testimony standards, nothing of literary value, nothing quotable or memorable, or even ironic--indeed, irony, in whatever form, must be supplied, as to the pedestal of Ozymandias' pillar, by the affected reader.

Shorn of entertainment value, of sentiment, this work seems to place a curious demand on the modern reader. And yet for these poems to be simultaneously a witnessing and a rejecting of any social, artistic or psychological agenda in their presentation, for these materials to be able to "speak for themselves," strikes this reader as not only proper but in some powerful way as noble.

Shorn of comment, the poems of Holocaust and Testimony are less the case of an author's abscondus, than a way of implicating the broadest range of social, political and philosophical responses into a confrontation with material about which, truly, the less said, the better.

In commanding response, but not dictating it, the author manages to give both good and bad conscience their due.