PUBLISHERS & PRINTERS

SITTING SHIVA FOR MYSELF

 

by Renee Blitz

Paperback / $12.95 / ISBN-13: 978-1-58790-169-0 / 118 pages / 5” x 8”

 

Fiction / Short Stories

 

Welcome to Renee Blitz’s latest poetry collection, the underrated gem of the year. Pathetic animals, stare at the reader from the book’s cover with uncanny sadness. This is a book of mourning. Blitz’s poems address all manner of innate miseries and built-in human dysfunctions. There are generational conflicts; death and its intimations; sexuality and the inability to cope with it; poverty and failed ambitions. Blitz, a native of the Bronx and the author of the short story collection “In Berkeley’s Green and Pleasant Land,” describes growing up in a Yiddish-speaking immigrant home in New York, with a God-fearing Orthodox father who also happens to be obsessed with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Yiddishisms and Jewish references pervade the collection, but what is most Jewish is the form of the pieces themselves. Blitz’s dense and lyrical prose poems are as brief and vivid as vignettes, but in their essence and tone they are really just crazed, wild and despairing Jewish rants.

 

Blitz’s works employs the stream of consciousness, unearthing the most unsavory images, from unpleasant smells to cheating, frigidity, and hatred of self and of everyone else. At the same time, however, Blitz is funny and entertaining, exploiting the old Jewish trick of turning life’s most bitter dregs into humor. Misery and irony copulate in every sentence.

This is, undoubtedly, a shiva for nothing less than the human condition. But while mourning, you will also laugh.

— Jake Marmer

 

Renee Blitz came to Berkeley from the Bronx in 1955 when she was 24. She was awarded a prize in Fiction from the National Endowments for the Arts in 1972 and thereafter proceeded to raise three daughters as a divorced woman on food stamps in Berkeley. Her second marriage to Moe Moskowitz, owner of the famous Moe’s Books in Berkeley, ended with his death in 1998. She lives with one of her adult daughters in a rear cottage in Berkeley with overgrown weeds and goes up to a gym every day ostensibly to work out. She understands Yiddish, French, Spanish, various no win situations, and English.

To purchase book, click on book cover.