Daily Review: Home by Uvi Poznansky and Zeev Kachel
September 11, 2018
This book is full of love and pathos and grief. So take a deep gulp of the human condition, and read Home.
Home. A simple word; a loaded one. You can say it in a whisper; you can say it in a cry. Expressed in the voices of father and daughter, you can hear a visceral longing, in poems and prose, for an ideal place. A place never to be found again.
Imagine the shock, imagine the sadness when a daughter discovers her father’s work, the poetry he had never shared with anyone during the last two decades of his life. Six years after that moment of discovery, which happened in her childhood home while mourning for his passing,
Uvi Poznansky presents a tender tribute: a collection of poems and prose, half of which is written by her, and half—by her father, the author, poet and artist Zeev Kachel. She has been translating his poems for nearly a year, with careful attention to rhyme and rhythm, in an effort to remain faithful to the spirit of his words.
Zeev’s writing is always autobiographical in nature; you can view it as an ongoing diary of his life. Uvi’s writing is rarely so, especially when it comes to her prose. She is a storyteller who delights in conjuring up various figments of her imagination and fleshing them out on paper.
She sees herself chasing her characters with a pen, in an attempt to see the world from their point of view and to capture their voices.
But in some of her poems, she offers you a rare glimpse into her most guarded, intensely private moments, yearning for Home.
From Uvi Poznansky:
When my father passed away, I went back home for the traditional Shiva-a, the seven days period of mourning.
Perhaps the grief did something to change the way I viewed things, or else it was sitting in that space–my childhood home–in a spot I rarely sat before, discovering it from a new angle, observing how light penetrated the far reaches of this place, how the furniture signified relationships in the family. I drew what I saw on a napkin; wiped my tears with it, and later discarded it.
Coming back to the states, I recreated that sketch from memory. In my new drawing, I used a fish-eye perspective.
What does that mean?
Like regular perspective, the horizontal lines converge into a vantage point in the distance. But here is the difference: the vertical lines are not straight, nor are they parallel. As you look up, vertical lines converge to a point up there, beyond the edge of the paper.
You can call it Heaven. And as you look down, the vertical lines converge to a point below, call it Hell. Which makes the entire perspective embrace you, as if you are in the middle of a fishbowl, seeing the world curve around you.
And looking through such a perspective, what did I see? An earthquake, really, in the aftermath of my father’s death. Books falling off the shelves; the lamp swinging like a pendulum; the little side table (in the front) overturned, so my father will never lay his pen upon it; and instead of the Persian rugs that used to adorn this space once upon a time, I floated blank pages on the floor; pages he will never again use for writing.
In my next sketch, I let the lamp swing even higher into the air. The place has completely tilted, and my father’s armchair is ascending above the rest of the furniture. This is the sketch I used for an oil painting called My Father’s Armchair, which later became the cover of my poetry book, Home.
Sucked in by a force, I’m flying through a tunnel
The tunnel of memory that leads me back home
The past blurs my present, so my vision is double
Walls of my childhood curve into a dome
From here I can see that home, tilting
And falling from place, all the lamps are aflame
My father’s empty chair is slowly ascending
Tipped by the light, outlining its frame
Review by Convoke:
Uvi Poznansky had a father, like most of us; a family, as most of us do for a time. But this father was a gifted writer, as his daughter is gifted. This book is partly written by Uvi’s father, Zeev Kachel, and partly by her own deep heart.
This is no book for the faint of heart, nor a book to read casually. This book is full of love and pathos and grief. So take a deep gulp of the human condition, and read Home — a book, a compilation, a struggle of the self.
This book is about emotion and the strength that sadness can evoke in the best of us. Uvi understands at a gut level the purpose of art and here she writes a frame around her father’s journey, which has inspired her own.
Poznansky gives us a glimpse of lives most different, of her father’s journey, of her own. If you’ve disdained the search for a higher octave of writing on Kindle, recant: Home proves you wrong. In this book, the author shows us the world through an unblinking eye. And what we see, we may not like: humanity torn open, a father lost, life among the ruins of a single soul.
Be warned: this book is dark; it must be to take us where it wants to go, to guide us through a storm of feeling. Zeev Kachel’s numerous poems in Home share his loneliness, his talent — and hers as she writes, evoking a spirit from beyond life’s end.
Please click HERE to find Home on Amazon.