Oh Memory, You Unlocked Cabinet of Amazements! is a paean to the author’s mid-twentieth century Bronx childhood as the sole offspring of warmly loving—if sometimes provincial, overprotective, or embarrassing—immigrant parents. It is also about the wonder of lifelong memory itself, of how the past continually offers itself up as a field to contemplate, a field of rediscovery and new discovery of one’s native landscape, and of the actions, rituals, and language—with all their redolence and significance—of those long gone whom one still loves.

Oh Memory, You Unlocked Cabinet of Amazements! by Judy Kronenfeld is available now.

In these 20 beautifully crafted, heart-healing poems, Kronenfeld leads the reader from recollections of the Bronx of her youth to her thoughtful, aware present-day life. With her keen lyric voice, she shows us the soil from which her poetry sprang, from the sensuality of her mother enjoying a maraschino cherry, to “Hebrew letters of fire / rising into the air,” to the “homely buildings” seen from her childhood bedroom window that “became shadowy tall ships about to melt / into the velvet sea of night.” Bringing us to the present, she writes of getting into bed: “I pat the quilt flat / just as I would / smooth out the soil around a tiny sapling” and then wonders “What have I done in my life / to melt into...quietness and calm, not...be one... / displaced for years lying on stony ground...?” On reading this satisfying collection, the reader can share a little of the poet’s good fortune and be certain that, through her words, it has been properly honored.
——Tamara Madison, author of Along the Fault Line and Morpheus Dips His Oar
This delectable, miniature Wunderkammer of poems appears to focus primarily on the Bronx neighborhood of Judy Kronenfeld’s childhood and youth. But rest assured, this petite compendium proves surprisingly capacious, opening up unexpected hidden drawers and closets to include California, Norway, Vienna, voyages across the sea and rides to Westchester, trips to the Good Humor truck, and a triumphant visit to a bowling alley. In these complexly generous poems, Kronenfeld calls to life beloved parents and family members from the past. In so doing she crafts each poem as its own wondrous alcove of memory, through which the reader journeys with her, feeling ever more welcome, ever more at home.
——Stephanie Barbé Hammer, author of City Slicker and Journey to Merveilleux City
Judy Kronenfeld brings to life a world that once was, but now is not far from her memory and imagination. Much of that world of the mid-century Bronx is gone: the apartment buildings that line the streets, flaring gold with lamplight as night approaches; the way parking places suddenly disappear after fathers drop the family off in front; the strange music of praying that wafts up from the synagogue next door. It’s with loving care and with the poet’s precision that Judy recreates this world.  See how she captures her father putting on his hat in the morning, or the way her elderly mother nudges a bowling ball so slowly down the lane.  Judy’s latest collection is not only a Cabinet of Amazements, but a transport of delights. It’s also a personal history in verse, full of the wonders of being both young and a careful observer—excellent preparation for becoming such a fine poet.
——Alan Walowitz, author of The Story of the Milkman and In the Muddle of the Night (with Betsy Mars)
Oh Memory, You Unlocked Cabinet of Amazements! evokes the working-class Bronx neighborhood of the poet’s youth. We glimpse her father dressing in the mirror, as he “spins [his] fedora” in his hands before her dream dissolves. After a blizzard, the two go city-sledding on their Flexible Flyer. All is trust and safety in her father’s presence, though his “immigrant’s extra pinch of ingratiation . . . with customers / and the American-born” makes his daughter want “to hide.” Weeks of her childhood spin “like a glassy ornament.” We meet the hardy women of her mother’s generation: “Their legacies: a bridge of yellowed teeth / wrapped in a tissue.” She writes salty love letters to the Bronx accent and the Yiddish language which pervaded her parents’ home. “[Feh!] had the whole army of righteousness / at its back, excommunicating the recipients / of its derision by fiat.” Kronenfeld has written a book textured with layered memories, both sweet as a hot fudge sundae and astringent as sliced onion.
——Marc Alan di Martino, author of Love Poem with Pomegranate and Still Life with City

Judy Kronenfeld’s fifth full-length book of poetry, and seventh collection, Groaning and Singing (FutureCycle) came out in 2022 and If Only There Were Stations of the Air, a chapbook of poems, was released by Sheila-Na-Gig Editions in 2024. Previous books include Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech, 2012), and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize (2nd ed, Antrim House, 2012). Her poems have appeared in more than four dozen anthologies and in many journals including Cider Press Review, Gyroscope Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, New Ohio Review, Offcourse, One Art, Rattle, Sheila-Na-Gig, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verdad and Your Daily Poem.
A Stanford PhD in English, Judy has also published short stories, creative nonfiction, and criticism, including King Lear and the Naked Truth (Duke, 1998)—a rather muckraking book challenging post-structuralist Shakespeare criticism on historical and linguistic grounds. She is a four-time Pushcart nominee and has also been nominated for Best of the Net and serves as an Associate Editor of Poemeleon.
Judy taught English Literature at UC Riverside, UC Irvine and Purdue University, and is now Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing Department, UC Riverside, having retired in 2009 after more than two decades teaching there. She has attempted, but is never sure she has succeeded at crossing the boundary between the divided and distinguished worlds of academic criticism and creative writing. A native New Yorker, raised in the Bronx, Judy has lived most of her life in Riverside, California, with her anthropologist husband. Their middle-aged children and four grandchildren live (way too!) far away in Maryland.

Website: judykronenfeld.com

Facebook: judy.kronenfeld

This book of blackout poems is a mostly lighthearted, occasionally philosophical journey through selected application and rejection materials from the many teaching jobs the author applied for and did not get between 2011 and 2014. None of the materials come from their current employer.

A Field of Nopes by James Ducat is available now.

A Field of Nopes will touch anyone who has ever put heart and brain on the line for a job—particularly those who have ever had to fend for their dignity and sanity in the brutal yet cruelly tactful academic market. These poems quietly blast through the wall of mystique surrounding rejection. Drawing from redacted official letters and other application materials, Ducat has delivered a collection that echoes the satiric tradition of Kafka and Vonnegut, the economy and wordplay of Dickinson and cummings, the lyricism of Rilke and Neruda. Readers will find here a kindred of yeses.
—Jo Scott-Coe, Unheard Witness: The Life and Death of Kathy Leissner Whitman (UT Press)
In this witty and brutal series of erasures, James Ducat lays bare the “rhetorical angels” of academic discourse. He guides the reader through the depersonalizing language of HR, making us question whether there can be room for any human person in such a machine. The combination of the original black-out drafts with lineated versions of the poems works beautifully to construct a feeling of dialog. Ducat evokes moments of unexpected lyricism amidst the fragments of corporate-speak. Somehow, the poems open a space for “courage,/ courage in the open/ sea” of endless nopes.
—Phoebe Reeves, author of Helen of Bikini (Lily Poetry Review Books)
An adjunct’s lot is hard, and the current academic field is ripe for sociopolitical reexamination. James Ducat’s new chapbook uses erasure as engagement, taking control of the emotional possibilities of rejection and turning the offensive language of aggressively polite rejection letters into wry, empathic self-compassion (“I seek I,/I am”). Nearly multi-media, the book shows its work—or perhaps we might say, its play. “I waive my right/to be considered valid,” Ducat’s opening poem “Release” wryly begins. If the eraser on a pencil is a tool of correction, and the blacking/whiting out model of erasure is an annihilation, Ducat’s use shows its political bona fides, correcting what is imperfect, setting aright what’s amiss, and smiling along the way.
—Jenny Factor, finalist, Lambda Literary Award, author of Want the Lake (Red Hen Press) and Unraveling at the Name (Copper Canyon Press)

James Ducat’s poetry has appeared in Carve, Bellingham Review, CutBank, Apogee, Spoon River Poetry Review, has been featured on Verse Daily, and is anthologized by The Inflectionist Review, Orangelandia and others.
James holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles, and is associate professor of English and creative writing at Riverside City College. He is the co-advisory editor of MUSE art and literary journal.

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