THE VAST UNKNOWING by Nancy Shiffrin

THE VAST UNKNOWING by Nancy Shiffrin - a collection of poems describing a mature woman's creative journey
Nancy Shiffrin's creative journey
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"I seek solace in crashing waves   salt breeze/inhale the vast unknowing" ...  In the tradition of Anais Nin,  THE VAST UNKNOWING  unveils a mature woman's creative journey.  Nancy Shiffrin's poems sing, shout, whisper, debate:  nature, intimacy, Jewish identity, politics, spirituality, aesthetics.  A few copies are left of the 1st edition.  Order now:

LAMENTATION by Nancy Shiffrin -- written shortly after 9/11/2001

I could not hear the witnesses wailing
as planes came in at the wrong angle
collapsing towers erupted smoke and flame
nor cradle the passengers
as they flew fully conscious to their deaths
I cannot go down on my knees in the rubble
to examine bits of fabric   isolated teeth

I peel purple rind from eggplant
dice the crisp white center
toss the pieces into the pot
already fragrant with garlic and rosemary
add chicken skinned and boned   tart juicy tomatoes
pour in wine   sweeten with cinnamon
the mixture simmers

I glance at the newspaper
woman eyes hollow mouth open
dust-covered in the gas-yellow atmosphere
fireman dragging a body bag
girl wrapped in Stars and Stripes
taste bile at the back of my throat

a broadcaster drones about theology policy
possibly bombing Kabul
I ladle soup into small containers
stack them neatly in the freezer
polish silver   scrub pots
arrange rose petals in a crystal dish
finally sit in silence

God!  please heal the desolate souls of men
who watch their wives trim lamb for shaslik
play basketball with their sons
who refuse to learn landing and take-off
yet know how to turn
who armed only with small blades
cause great jets to crash

Excerpts from reviews of  THE VAST UNKNOWING

THE VAST UNKNOWING  collects a wide spectrum of poetry from Nancy Shiffrin...  One of her main questions is Who are we?  What made us that person?  She explores a number of sources of our identity... (in the poem) My Shoah (Shiffrin) brings together many of her disparate threads - family, religion, evil, details from her personal history - and makes them work together.  When she is at her best, as in this poem, Shiffrin produces deep powerful poetry.  G. Murray Thomas,

"Buckle up.  Hold tight!  THE VAST UNKNOWING  is like riding the rollercoaster.  It will plunge you into despair, exhilarate you, shake you to the depths of your being, terrify you, elate, disturb.  And leave you weak-kneed, dizzy and delighted that you saw it through to a safe landing.  A ride not to be missed... words as weapons, words as balm, sometimes words that puzzle, words that arouse...  In her poem, "At the Writer's Retreat", Shiffrin quotes Anais Nin, 'There are no writer's blocks, only secrets we are afraid of telling.'  Nancy Shiffrin isn't afraid.  And no one will remain indifferent to the virtuoso power with which she reveals her secrets."  Ricky Rapoport Friesem, Poetica Magazine.

"Nancy Shiffrin's new book of poetry,  THE VAST UNKNOWING,  rekindled my fascination with Anais Nin...  Both writers explore personal relationships, the chaos of inner struggle, the beauty of nature, and sense awareness.  The section on Fairy Tales calls to mind Nin's fascination with dreams and her continuous probing of the creative spirit...  There is a frankness in Shiffrin's work that matches Nin's journals, and a similar autobiographical tone."  Karen Kane, Paris by Design.

"September, 2001" (published here as "Lamentation") touches us by conveying vividly not only the horror of the victims' ordeal but also the humanity of the perpetrators."
Liz Zelvin, AOL Social Work Newsletter.

"Nancy Shiffrin's poems convey a social consciousness that is often lacking in literature today.  I love the way they speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves..."  Dianna Henning, MFA, Lassen County Arts Council.

To find out more and/or to order books, contact me at
1112 Montana Avenue #636 Santa Monica CA 90403  310.302.1107

Copyright © 2010 Nancy Shiffrin, PhD.  All rights reserved.

Nancy Shiffrin, PhD - Creative Writing Services - poet, critic, journalist, fiction writer, teacher
Nancy Shiffrin, PhD
poet, critic, journalist,
fiction writer, teacher