Nautilus and Bone chronicles the life and work of the radical, passionate Russian-Jewish American poet Anna Margolin on her path toward self-determination. Blending myth, surrealism, historical fact and fiction, this collection of persona poems brings to life one of the most celebrated Yiddish poets of her generation.
Nautilus and Bone
In Nautilus and Bone, Lisa Richter races around the life and work of Yiddish-language poet Anna Margolin (1887 – 1952) until her “words are wilding.” The poetry supersedes the mere biographical and showcases the triumphs of the genre: in forms including sonnet crowns, centos, and homophonic translations, Richter keeps up with Margolin’s escapades from Brisk to the Lower East Side. Poems such as “Flew the Peacock Off-Golden” combine iconic themes of Yiddish poetry with Richter’s exuberant syntax: “above sleep I became the peacock/my restless eye flew away you bow.” Language flaunts itself across history — with epigraphs ranging from Lorca to Lizzo, the collection memorializes Margolin’s legacy across time. Richter’s exhilarating achievement doesn’t merely bring Margolin to life — it dares the reader to live as fully as Margolin.
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