By Priscilla Long
This review of I Can’t Remember by Cynthia Macdonald appeared in The Women’s Review of Books, Vol. 15, No. 7 (April 1998), p. 7.
The poems in Cynthia Macdonald’s disturbing, brilliant sixth book, I Can’t Remember, constitute acts of remembering. The poems remember what has been forgotten, repressed, put away. They remember – possibly they inflict – the traumas of childhood and of history, and they do so with concrete images and unsettling immediacy.
A father is lost, not because he has been “screwing around” as we might say, but because “Daddy had been slipping/ his slick, rubber-bound prick into too many others.” The Nazi genocide is depicted, not as the generalized Holocaust, but as one Jew who “smells barbecue/from next door: family burning.”… Continue reading
Poet, Writer, Teacher, Editor
MFA, Creative Writing, University of Washington, 1990
Founding and Consulting Editor, www.historylink.org, the online encyclopedia
of Washington state history
2012 Hedgebrook writer in residence
2009 Jack Straw Productions Writers’ Program fellow
2006 National Magazine Award (feature writing)
2003 The Richard Hugo House Founders’ Award (a teaching award)
2002 Seattle Arts Commission (creative nonfiction)
The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life (Seattle: Wallingford Press, 2010).
Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America’s Bloody Coal Industry (New York: Paragon House Publishers, 1989).
Weekly column, Science Frictions, appears every Wednesday (started September 11, 2011) on The American Scholar website. To see the columns… Continue reading