Published by Puncher & Wattmann
Paperback, 154 pages
ISBN-13 : 978-1922571601
Though she was only fourteen years old, like many other Jews in Eastern Europe’s Pale of Settlement in 1907, Rebecca Lieberman gathered her few belongings and left for the United States. What follows is a unique and poetic story of history, war, mysticism, music, abuse, survival and transcendence against the backdrop of New York City in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s.
Now available directly from the publisher Puncher & Wattmann: https://puncherandwattmann.com/product/bobish/
Do please ask for it in your local bookshop or from your local library. I’d love to send you a free autographed bookplate and bookmark so please let me know if you’d like one.
“Simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring, this beautifully written and immaculately researched verse memoir is accessible to readers of fiction and poetry alike. It will also hold a special resonance for anyone whose ancestors were forced to flee their homes and endure dangerous sea voyages to forge lives in new lands. I recommend it unreservedly.” Denise O’Hagan, Black Quill Press, author Anamnesis, The Beating Heart
“…her poetic images burn themselves into our memories, swirling and repeating in the mist of feelings that surround us as we read. This is not poetry to be analyzed and understood. It is a story to be experienced, to let the lines wash over you.” Gordon Long, The Renaissance Writer
“Bobish certainly succeeds in bringing Magdalena Ball’s great-grandmother vividly back to life. As she writes in “The Consequences of Silence,” she succeeds in her quest to “Unstitch the moment connecting her to me,” a lovely allusion to Rivka as a seamstress but also suggesting the fabric that is a family. Bobish is compelling and poignant, a true tour de force.” Charles Rammelkamp, North of Oxford
“This poetic tour de force by Magdalena Ball is more than an historical verse memoir of her great-grandmother Rebecca Lieberman; it is reverent, loving homage to a woman who, in fact, represents millions upon millions of Jewish men and women forced from their homes by their oppressors, eventually to wash up on the shores of America in the great emigration from Europe than began in the middle of the 19th century…” Theodore J Cohen
“Oh, my, what a lovely way to bring to life the sad story of the author’s grandmother when young and traveling to America alone….Ball is the very author to bring a life full of history alive with poetry that is profoundly moving and memorable.” Caroline Wilhelm, Midwest Book Review
“I was caught by the power of emotion in a few, carefully selected words, the spare imagery that took me into a young girl’s hell. Poetry or not, I had to keep reading, gem after gem, though with gaps in between so I could absorb each. Although the form of presentation is poetry, this is a genuine biography, bringing a life and its now near-forgotten setting to vivid reality.” Bob Rich, Bobs Writing
“Such a wonderful prosody of verse conveying tragedy in a beautiful way. Magdalena is such an expert at the juxtaposition of sadness with hope, terror with exquisiteness.” Geoff Nelder
“While sparse of word it is evocative. Bobish plumbs the depth of belonging, dislocation and longing. Ball brings sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch into focus – sometimes with a thud. Bobish is brilliant. A short life in six acts, sixty-four poems filling the void and not a single forced rhyme. Bobish is beautiful. A great achievement.” Kassia Klinger
Two readings from the book
“Empire Erased” This piece is about Rebecca’s arrival at Ellis Island in 1907.
“A Careless Cigarette” This piece is about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Rebecca worked at the Factory like many other migrants. It was said that she was prescient, and able to read the future in tea leaves. According to family legend, she was sick on the day of the fire, and the poem engages with those elements.