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Ghost Cities: Aaron Zeitlin’s Post-Holocaust Poetry

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There are two cities that are featured in Zeitlin’s poetry composed in America during and after the Holocaust, one real and one remembered. Zeitlin is physically in New York and often refers to the city of his real time; however, the author and his poems are possessed by the ghosts of Jewish Warsaw. The-Warsaw-that-is-no-more is often transposed on the geography of New York. Warsaw becomes New York’s ghostly twin, and Zeitlin, a walking shadow whose body is in New York, but whose spirit has gone up in flames with the murdered Jews of Warsaw. In this paper, I demonstrate how Zeitlin creates a paranormal rhetoric of ghosts, astrals, phantoms, and shadows in order to navigate an eradicated world. Various landmarks in New York become portals to this lost world, and crossing the street can become a metaphor for connecting with the deceased.

Affiliations: 1: New York


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