These stark, candid, and radiant poems in Gloria Mindock's new collection give shape and space to voices lifted from the clutter and clamor that is the matrix of war. The war is upon us now, but poets forever have sung such lamentations and haunted us all too often throughout history. One thinks of Homer, Wilfred Owen, and Carolyn Forche. A fierce and generous tenderness and enviable humanity ungirds these unflinching poems. Mindock's is the voice we need to hear at this very moment. —Eric Pankey, author of Not Yet Transfigured
Gloria Mindock’s book touches the very soul of Ukraine. The elevated stylistics and exceptional talent of the author reveal in depth all possible dimensions of the inhuman Russian aggression. This poetic diamond is a generalized universal message to the world, it is also the call of the Ukrainian heart, and it is a resistance against Putin's obscurantism. It is a powerful expansion of the senses that, through the depth of feeling, shows us that even in the darkest hour the human spirit does not stop resisting, rising, denying violence and carrying with it the eternal light of revelation and freedom. The author has achieved the perfect balance between the senses, reality, experience and emotion, and has reached the first literary sublimation of its kind; it is a book-message, unique in spirit, an artistic achievement woven of pain, hope, suffering, empathy and philanthropy. Gloria Mindock’s genuine work is the poetic witness on the war. It sings the song of Ukraine. It hurts. It soars. It peaks. It rises above. This is the artistic blast that will defeat and outlive the apocalypse of Putin and his bloody regime. Grief Touched the Sky at Night is a book that will wait for peace and victory and then be read and studied for a long time. —Svet DiNahum, author of Escape from Crimea, Winner of Červená Barva Press Dissident Award, Honorable Member of the Ukrainian National Writers’ Association
Gloria Mindock’s poetry collection was written during the living experiences of the war, which unfortunately, continue. The language of the poems is direct and full of metaphors, understandable, but concrete and abstract at the same time. Abstract to the point that the words war, blood, killing, loss, Bucha, and Kyiv are now in a line synonymous with a huge tragedy, "My body is naked// I did not remove my clothes. My dignity remains //while the dirt covers me //I love my country. //I love my country. //I am Ukraine" In the poem Boots, as if the name is of a Ukrainian soldier or refugee, the poet presents an opposing understanding to create the maximum effect of doom and helplessness. But at the same time an inner resistance and stubbornness are presented in its last lines, bearing witness to resolve and hope. In Mindock’s poems, despite the depiction of a modern-day apocalypse, the understanding exists that "Everyone needs to be protected, // to be loved." Clearly the role of poetry hasn’t lost its significance. —Vasyl Makhno, author of Paper Bridge, Translated by Olena Jennings; with an introduction by Ilya Kaminsky -------------------- Amazon Reviews
Amazon Review by Susan Isla Tepper, 5 out of 5 Stars November 10, 2023 The Poet Does Not Flinch
This book of lyrical poems, written exclusively about the Ukraine war, is a study in human courage, resourcefulness, and deep despairing pain. It actually begins with its cover which is startlingly evocative. Losses combined with resilence push hard through these pages as the poet pushes on with unsparing truths. The very first poem, short and brilliant, sets the tone: "FIRST DAY OF WAR: I ran down twenty-one flights of stairs / to find myself / sitting under a tree / branches sheltering me from grief / The wind blowing it somewhere...//. As reader, I gasped. Because I felt myself inside the poem, taking those 21 stairs, and 'finding myself' (which is the sum total of the human experience) (finding oneself)-- Here, under a tree, during a shelling. An extraordinary poem that speaks of the human journey in the simplest way but the most profound setting. The book is divided into 3 sections. This poem, being the first in the collection, is from the section titled DECOMPOSITON. From this section, also, the poem "BOOTS: My boots are dirty / but not from dirt / My boots are heavy / but not from weight / My boots are untied / but not from neglect / My boots are on the road / I did not take them off / My boots are worn by someone else / I did not give / My body is naked / I did not remove my clothes / My dignity remains / while the dirt covers me / I love my country. / I love my country. / I am Ukraine. // . War regarded in a stabbing poem: "My boots are worn by someone else." This book should go down as one of the great war books. Its empathy and unnerving truths are haunting.
Amazon Review by N. Alonso Hathaway 5 out of 5 stars November 11th, 2023 Intense Vision Out of War in Ukraine
The poetry in Gloria Mindock's Grief Touched the Sky at Night's has intense immediacy, the painful reality of human suffering during this horrific war. She never dodges or makes political excuses for what people are experiencing, sustains an honest perspective that's critically important to understanding what's going on.
Amazon Review by Robin Stratton 5 out of 5 stars November 14th, 2023 A beautiful, sad testimony to the victims of Ukraine These poems are difficult to read, but they MUST be read; attention MUST be paid to this devastation of humanity. The intense beauty of the writing brings tears. These emotions, these words, are shared by a very gifted writer, who wonders, "What is to become of us in this sweeping wind?" And yet, there is a subtle stirring of hope... I love this visual: " Yesterday I took the hand of my Ukrainian friend and / Russian friend, we danced for the stars / to light the way..." Highly recommended latest collection from a master poet.
Amazon Review by Lee Varon 5 out of 5 Stars November 21st, 2023 Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2023 Astounding New Collection
“Grief Touched the Sky at Night” begins with the disarmingly simple and powerful poem, “First Day of War” which begins, “I ran down twenty-one flights of stairs, / to find myself/ sitting under a tree/ branches sheltering me from grief/” It is Mindock’s ability to pair the specific and the general which gives many of these poems their power.
In a poem entitled “My Last Moments,” Mindock writes: “I dream of a beautiful breeze touching/ my face. The moon gives me comfort. / All I hear are heavy boots coming for me. // When I was a little girl, I thought the world was / a beautiful place. I was wrong. / I can smell the stench of dead bodies. / Soon I will be among them.”
The poems in this astounding new collection bear witness to the slaughter, the inhumanity, and the exhaustion of war, specifically the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 22, 2022. Mindock’s voice is urgent and yet at the same time, she transforms this suffering into a fierce beauty in her carefully crafted poems. Although the Ukraine invasion features predominately in this volume, the book in three sections—Decomposition, Before War, and Anesthesia—goes beyond the particulars of our time and speaks of all wars and the horror and suffering they engender. In “Earth” she writes: “Sometimes, you have to approach things differently. / Fall in love with the edge.” Clearly, Mindock is a poet who writes from the edge, and she brings to us amazing work from a place of both anger and outrage, but also deep love and compassion. These poems speak to man’s inhumanity and brutality but also the beauty and sometimes even resilience that flower even in the most desperate of times.
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