Migrations: Poem, 1976-2020
By Gloria Gervitz
Translated by Mark Schafer
New York Review Books, November 2021
The story of Gervitz’s poem is an epic in itself. Migraciones began as “Shajarit,” a fifteen-page poem, which Gervitz began writing in 1976 and published three years later. So began the poem that would grow over the next forty-one years as a tree incorporates its rings, or a river is fed by its tributaries. Gloria Gervitz’s book is an epic journey in free verse through the individual and collective memories of Jewish women emigrants from Eastern Europe, a conversation that ranges across two thousand years of poetry, a bridge that spans the oracles of ancient Greece and the markets of modern Mexico, a prayer that blends the Jewish and Catholic liturgies, a Mexican woman’s reclamation through poetry of her own voice and erotic power.