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
The Poet Does Not Flinch Susan Isla Tepper, November 10th, 2023 5 out of 5 Stars
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.
Intense Vision Out of War in Ukraine N. Alonso Hathaway, November 11th, 2023 5 out of 5 stars
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.
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.
Astounding New Collection Lee Varon, November 21st, 2023 5 out of 5 Stars
“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.
Voice for those harmed and killed Karen Klein, November 29th, 2023 5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2023In her poem, "Requiem" Gloria Mindock writes of "Body parts flying unable to connect." Her poems, in her role as Witness to suffering, harming, maiming, killing, dying, make the connection, not by literally recombining disparate body parts, but by showing us the humans that make up these parts. Her poems are their parts; these poems restore the humanity to those who no longer can speak.
As with her previous poetry collections, Mindock stares unflinchingly into the abyss of war and inhumanity. A must-read.
Beautiful and timely Barbara Murphy, January 9th, 2024 5 out of 5 stars Gloria Mindock's book calls to mind Bertolt Brecht's lines: "In the dark times/will there also be singing?/Yes, there will also be singing/About the dark times."
Mindock's poems capture the complexity of the Ukrainian war in stark language, showing us how "[s]ometimes, you have to approach things differently." The voices in this collection speak to profound grief and loss, but also to survival, which often means "[f]all[ing] in love with the edge."
With this new poetry collection, Gloria Mindock records human suffering as a result of the invasion of Russian armies into Ukraine. In "The Map," the lines read: "Sadness will not desert us./ This country fights but will not disappear" (12). This is a brave assertion to make as the conflict is becoming a war and the suffering is just beginning. Sit quietly to read the poems collected in this book. They remind us that it is time to take heart and reflect on our human condition.
Gloria Mindock’s GRIEF TOUCHED THE SKY AT MIDNIGHT is an impassioned cri de coeur on behalf of the Ukrainian people, and all people, during war. The scenes of horror and displacement are tragically vivid, personalized: “At midnight, I hear my baby crying, / but she is gone to where there / is no sin.” Yet this book of poems is not in the end depressing. The author has an unfailing ear for pleasing rhythm, and more importantly, a deeply empathetic heart beats at the center: a witness of compassion and sensitivity who knows that death is not the last word as history moves forward.
Is it possible for any human being to understand living through a war from a distance? Gloria Mindock’s book, Grief Touched the Sky at Night, is ambitious; she asks us to listen to the voices of those hiding, hurt, grieving, and murdered during Ukraine’s current war. At times, it is a child who prays “for quiet” and puts on her “prettiest dress” while waiting for “this camouflage” to take her “elsewhere.” A simple poem about boots, filled with repetition, manages to bring this reader into the heart of the war, the people of Ukraine, in a way that newscasts have not. And the line, “Give me a shirt with words so / I do not have to speak anymore / There is nothing left to say / The moon still shines,” reminds us of the wordlessness and isolation of grief. How can the world continue on while others are living through this hell? In those last moments, while hiding in darkness, how does one wait “for the slaughter? / We are animals, sharp teeth baring…/ There is no Eden.” I applaud Mindock for this moving and striking and necessary book of poems.
Gloria Mindock's collection "Grief Touched the Sky at Night" begins with a short poem titled "First Day of War. The poem is just five lines: "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..." Even though the poem's author is not in Ukraine and her war experience is vicarious, the grief of the people subjected to nighly bombardments is visceral in her poems; her compassion is felt in every line. Her poems are like arteries through which her blood flows: "Blindfold me so I don't see the damage the dead bodies, or blood on the ground."
Gloria Mindock's poems are an impassioned cry to protect those who are defenseless; those who lie in bed at night listening to the rumble of rocket attacks; and those who are forced to flee. It's a cry to end the war.
War Poems Pamela L. Laskin, January 29th, 2024 5 out of 5 stars Gloria Mindock's glorious collection plunges the reader into the abyss of the war in Ukraine, asking us to ruminate on Putin's aggression and its cost on humanity. It is a partnership between public and private grief, where we are forced into the depths of despair, gazing at, "the blood on the ground;" soldiers killing my family and friends/slitting their throats and burning them;" all the empty churches where "Jesus lay there. Broken." The question remains: Will he rise again in this country besieged with death and destruction? The social conscience and juxtaposition of the language of beauty and horror allows us to all rise to new levels of awareness; we must not look away, even though "In some villages, every heart stopped beating at once." Read GRIEF TOUCHED THE SKY and your heart will beat non-stop.
In GRIEF TOUCHED THE SKY AT NIGHT, Gloria Mindock has created, with these cogent poems, an astonishingly honest and darkly elegant depiction of the war in Ukraine with all its multivarious tentacles that reach beyond the rubble. In “Requiem” Mindock writes:
“My descent into the unknown is a daily event. Death confronts me at every turn. Ignoring is what I do.
I try to be normal but spend my time hiding in everyone’s breath.”
Buoyed by an immense talent and poetic sensibility, Mindock brings the light of empathy and understanding to the broken places. A remarkable achievement!
An Extraordinary Book of Poetry Kathleen Aguero, February 8th, 2024 5 out of 5 stars
Gloria Mindock's poetry gets better and better with each book. In Grief Touched the Sky at Night, she turns her considerable poetic gifts along with her compassion to expose the horror of the war in Ukraine, and, therefore of all wars. An important book from an important poet/
Another powerful collection of poems on the war in Ukraine that I've had the opportunity to read this year comes from the USA, authored by Gloria Mindock and published by Glass Lyre Press. We are all interconnected in this universe through invisible threads, transcending our physical presence on the globe. Our actions contribute to each other's suffering and well-being, and we are deeply impacted by them. Reading "Grief Touched The Sky at Night" is like feeling the pulse of Ukraine, which, regrettably, continues to endure the devastations of war. You do not want to miss out on the profound reading experience offered by this book, available directly from Glass Lyre Press or major online bookstores - https://glass-lyre-press.myshopify.com/.../grief-touched... Congrats to Gloria Mindock, author, and publisher, Ami Kaye for this beautiful production!
Your poetry is November before snow comes, when the structures of trees reveal themselves, stark, leafless, and firmly rooted. --Susan Roney O'Brien
Grief Touched the Sky at Night is made up of multi-thematic poems centering on the Russian - Ukrainian war. They all have something to say---they are direct, to the point, and poignant. Together, they give a broad picture of a gentle people overrun by big-bully powers of Russia.
Above all, I found the poems to be empathetic, exactly what Shelley called for in his "In Defence of Poetry," i. e., for the poet to feel the other people's pain and suffering. Congratulations on the book. Enhorabuena, mazel tov. —Tino Villanueva
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