Guest Post by Kate Flannery
Have you ever tried to talk to anyone about the Holocaust? Have you ever had someone try to talk to you about the Holocaust? It’s harder than you think. Most people start with comments like, “How could anyone let that happen?” Or “Why didn’t anyone know about it at the time?” Or, more simply, “I don’t understand it.”
New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust, edited by Howard Debs and Matthew Silverman, is a good place to start that conversation. The volume is a compilation of poetry, fiction, and essays by contemporary writers who are confronting that horrific past by responding to photographs which are unfamiliar to most of us: A photo from the 1930s of a small Jewish boy with his teddy bear; a photo of Karel Ancerl, conductor of the Prague Radio Symphony in 1944; and others. And readers can take these modern responses in small doses, one poem at a time, one piece of flash fiction at a time. Probably a necessary approach for this kind of topic. Literature, history, and the depths of the human soul come together here — a must-read for anyone who clings to hopes that we can avoid atrocities like The Holocaust in the future.
New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust edited by Howard Debs and Matthew Silverman. Vallentine Mitchell, April 2023.
Reviewer bio: Kate Flannery is an Editor-at-Large for The Journal of Radical Wonder. She lives in a small college town where she also practices law. Her essays, poetry, and fiction have been published in Pure Slush, Chiron Review, Shark Reef, and Ekphrastic Review as well as other literary journals.