‘Post-Mortem’ by Heather Altfeld: The Complexity of Loss

by Meryl Natchez

There is a custom in the Jewish tradition called Kaddish, which includes saying aloud the names of the dead. The idea is that they live again for that brief moment when their name rings in the air. I thought of this while reading Heather Altfeld’s new book, Post-Mortem (100 pages; Orison Books), which details the complexity of loss we all know about but rarely speak of: the death of languages of indigenous peoples, of species, of the earth. Though the tone of the book is elegiac and it’s not light reading, the specificity and detail in these poems often make […]

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