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Stitching Things Together
Cover of Stitching Things Together
Stitching Things Together
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Highly Commended, IP Picks Best Poetry, 2010

This collection travels well, from the author's engagement with science as a medical practitioner to her appreciation of and penetration into the issues facing contemporary Jews and the State of Israel and the experiences faced by migrants to Australia.It is a poetry of risk but also one of transcendance over the challenges facing people in an increasingly dangerous and unpoetic world.

Highly Commended, IP Picks Best Poetry, 2010

This collection travels well, from the author's engagement with science as a medical practitioner to her appreciation of and penetration into the issues facing contemporary Jews and the State of Israel and the experiences faced by migrants to Australia.It is a poetry of risk but also one of transcendance over the challenges facing people in an increasingly dangerous and unpoetic world.

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About the Author-
  • Leah Kaminsky is a writer and physician living in Melbourne. She is a student in the MFA Fiction Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, USA. She was the Eleanor Dark Flagship Fellow for Fiction in 2007 and is currently a Creative Fellow at the State Library of Victoria. She is the author of several books, and is editor of an anthology of prominent physician-writers, The Pen and the Stethoscope (Scribe Publishing, 2010).

Reviews-
  • Sample Poems

    Stitching things together, 2007

    I: Tracing the pattern

    I stab the curved needle

    into broken skin

    pulling edges together

    with blue, nylon sutures

    II: Alterations

    my father was a tailor

    on Haufgass in Zhetl, 1931

    running his thumb

    over loose threads

    after he set the pigeons free on May 1st

    red ribbons tied to their legs

    he sat in Lushinkes gaol for months

    urine poured into his Communist nostrils

    my grandfather shared a bottle

    of vodka with the guard

    and put his son on board the SS Moreton Bay

    in 1938, before the storm began

    we sacrifice everything for our children

    father said as he sewed coats in Melbourne

    looking down from the window onto Flinders Lane

    at men loading mannequins into trucks

    while Europe blazed and swallowed up

    his youth, his love, his life

    he basted coat sleeves

    and pad-stitched lapels

    III: Pressing the Seams

    local anaesthetic wears off

    the laceration begins to throb

    the pain of the body

    split open, returns

    Dealing the cards

    I: Mizinek

  • Fifteen years after father limped down Flinders Lane

    and mother drank bromide tea in Bergen Belsen

    I was born, an accident of old age

    Why bring children into such a world?

    I was a good girl then

    my parents' little miracle

    their heart and soul and hope

    II: Wrestling ghosts

    On Saturdays they played

    Polish rummy

    crammed around the kitchen table in Caulfield

    with Gdale and Genia, Luba and Max

    the women smoked Craven A's

    the men ate greasy herring on rye

    sipping whisky before they dealt

    kids would wrestle in the lounge room

    evil Dr Schnitzelbaum body-slammed Lewin the Jew

    and I was always referee – 1,2,3, you're out!

    ghosts cheered from the sidelines

    hidden behind the cigarette haze

    no one ever saw them, except me

    I resurrected them from the dead

    their faces locked away

    behind mother's eyes

    and I fell into her world

    wanting to be the air

    that filled her every breath

    III: Shock

    In this house, in my room

    where I dreamed for years

    unspoken words piled up

    father sat on the floor

    playing Go Fish with me

    his crooked leg stretched out

    while electrodes forced the sun

    of pre-war Poland back into mother's brain

    and she saw a carp swimming in the tub

    her mother chopping off its head

    mincing the flesh for gefilte fish

    served with a slice of carrot for shabbat

    did the volts burn the darkness in her

    and force my faceless relatives to move on

    searching for shelter in another's haunted mind?

    unspoken words piled up between us

    silent, like murdered bodies

    the what-we-should-have-saids

    the if-onlys

  • the youngest child (Yiddish)
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Stitching Things Together
Stitching Things Together
Leah Kaminsky
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