Review by Eric Weinblatt
The walk of life is no simple stroll; rather it is a ballad that Elizabeth Rosner can strike all the chords to. In her latest collection, Gravity, Rosner recounts the life of her mother and father as they endure the horrors of the holocaust and reflects on growing up in their home. Paired with the incredible original artwork of Lola Fraknoi, Rosner’s words transcend time and space and speak to the brisk reality of human struggle. Elizabeth Rosner gently slips stones into her reader’s pockets and tips them into a sea of emotion. Each of these emotions is as tried and true as the history Rosner defines and illuminates with deeply personal anecdotes. While being an emotional rollercoaster of pain, perseverance, as well as dry and often very dark humor, Gravity is a collection that will resonate with readers for years to come.
Inheriting an unspeakablecomplex pain, Elizabeth Rosner instead composes a collection of poetry and prose poems,. The collection itself is divided out into three sections that collect poetry and longer prose poems. The works within Gravity tell the story of Elizabeth Rosner growing up in Jewish home, as well as the story of her parents. Both her mother and father endured the atrocities of the extermination camps during the holocaust and went on to lead a very a different life together in the United States. As a result, Rosner garners a seemingly unique perspective on the world and its historical accuracy, allowing her to color over the grayness with her poetic prowess. Gravity pulls at the heartstrings while boasting a song of identity. This song resonates through mother, father, daughter and sister as Rosner binds the family together in a collection that speaks volumes between each line of each stanza.
Furthermore, in a collection that is deeply personal, Elizabeth Rosner finds a language that is universal. While she resurrects the turmoil and desperation of her parents as they endure life in Europe, again in her own experiences, and clashing with her father as she attempts to take him back to Germany, Rosner speaks to the difficulty of fending off the demons brought on by genocide and allows herself and her readers to walk in her father’s shoes. Rosner also resurrects her mother as she delves into the complexities of tradition after the holocaust. This allows readers to become intimately connected to both her and her mother as the years progress, and feel the sharp pains of loss as Rosner recounts her mother’s funeral.
Overall, Gravity is a lavish collection that will go on to capture and pull at the hearts of each of its readers. Elizabeth Rosner is immensely talented, and refuses to hold back on the emotional rollercoaster of a family that is struck with tragedy after tragedy. While opening the table to discussion of horror, Rosner refuses to intimidate her audience, and rather delights and depresses equally with her pragmatic poetry. Few works can as adequately exhume such a sense of universal self as Gravity, which allows the collection to be a treasure that fails to missskip a beat. Fans of Jack Kerouac, Gary Young, and other prose-poets will tearfully rejoice as Rosner spins a tale through poetry that no reader will be able to forget.
Gravity is currently available on from Atelier26
Elizabeth Rosner currently lives in Berkeley, California and is the author of three other titles: Blue Nude, Electric City, and The Speed of Light. More information about her can be found here.
Lola Fraknoi has worked as Director of Art with Elders and as the Director of Holocaust Survivors. She played a crucial role in the development of Salud! the largest mural in San Francisco and is responsible for the art found in Gravity. You can learn more about her here.