Strange Nurs­ery: Poems

  • Review
By – May 10, 2013

Strange Nurs­ery begins with a com­plex, com­pli­cat­ed poem, Har­vest,” that braids togeth­er bits from Schor’s time as a mem­ber of a university’s Insti­tu­tion­al Ani­mal Care and Use Com­mit­tee, mod­ern and ancient Tal­mu­dic scripts, and the poet’s own lyric mus­ings. Many read­ers, like this one, may find it dif­fi­cult and con­fus­ing, though there’s also some­thing exhil­a­rat­ing about it, like an ancient Hebrew book redact­ed by a mod­ern sci­en­tist who’s read Celan. Yet on the oth­er side of it awaits an extra­or­di­nary col­lec­tion of poems that essen­tial­ly extend these lines from Har­vest”: what don’t the dead do?/ it’s a long list.” Schor writes, Look, said the painter,” in the pow­er­ful poem Budapest,” and her synes­thet­ic sen­si­bil­i­ty, sug­gest­ing that images talk and music con­veys smell, is part of what makes these poems such a plea­sure to read. She charts dark and dis­turb­ing moral waters with great acu­ity and grace, and is equal­ly poised in the lighter areas of love and friend­ship. By the end of the book I had learned, laughed, and felt a great deal, though per­haps the ques­tion that lingers the most is: Why does such a mas­ter­ful poet not enjoy a broad­er audi­ence and wider acclaim (Harold Bloom’s effu­sive blurb notwithstanding)?

Jason Myers is a writer whose work has appeared in AGNI, BOOK­FO­RUM, and Tin House.

Discussion Questions