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Words for What Those Men Have Done

Words for What Those Men Have Done

By Richard Jeffrey Newman

The poems in Words for What Those Men Have Done explore how the experience of surviving childhood sexual violence, coupled with the explicitly feminist commitment never to stand on the same side of sexual and gender politics as the men who violated me, has informed the way I choose to live my life. As such, the book is not a "survivor's memoir" in poetic form; it's goal is not arrive at a moment of transcendent healing, though there are moments of healing throughout the book. Rather, Words for What Those Men Have Done reveals what it feels like to hold myself accountable -- personally, politically, culturally, and socially -- in how I live my life as a man.


Guernica Editions (Essential Poets Series)


128 pages |

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Richard Jeffrey Newman's poems are never less than intimate, often powerfully explosive, clear-eyed portraits of a life: his and those of the different people who have affected him. Kin, spouse, son, friends, even strangers on the street make up the dramatis personae of Words For What Those Men Have Done. Among the themes here are sex, death, birth, abuse, and being Jewish. Newman sidesteps sentimentality easily to reveal the strictures -- and structures -- that both govern and determine his waking hours. In many poems, he explores how dreams form a deeply rooted part of his being. One man has etched these words into his, our, conscience: cause for meditation and celebration. -- Luis H. Francia, author of Tattered Boat Richard Jeffrey Newman's poems are alert to the possibility of redemption, not by transcending injury and sorrow, but by finding meaning there, and connection to others' suffering, and the bedrock truth of desire. Plaiting lyric and narrative, these poems move through boyhood's terror, through

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