Publication date: 6th July 2023
Format: Paperback / eBook
DCF: Poetry Collections
Cover artwork: Marc Chagall (The blue violinist / Le violoniste bleu, 1947)
Velvel’s Violin, a deeply moving and political fifth collection by TS Eliot Prize-shortlisted poet Jacqueline Saphra places us on the shifting ground between past and present. Through its search for missing histories of the Jewish diaspora, the book is a call for empathy and a warning to a world where the legacy of the Holocaust echoes current narratives of prejudice, war, displacement, and migration.
Saphra’s precisely-tuned writing ranges through tones of dark humour, lyrical beauty and moments of transcendent joy to find assonance between the turbulence of now and a family history of fragmented stories, irreparable loss and miraculous escapes. Between each poem - forgotten songs, weeping forests, buried violins - sound and silence combine to speak of love, absence and survival.
Praise for Velvel's Violin:
“Velvel's Violin is a book about faith and its complexities – how we are faithful, and to whom. It is about the strong and sometimes terrible legacies of the past that we continue to carry with us, and only a poet as brave as Jacqueline Saphra can give us such a clear and unflinching view. It was Adorno who said, ‘there can be no poetry after Auschwitz’, but Saphra understands that there must be poetry, otherwise there is no way of reconciling history with the way we live now, who and how we love. Ultimately, it is a book about love, and devotion, in its many guises.” – Tamar Yoseloff
Jacqueline Saphra is a poet, playwright and teacher. Recent collections are All My Mad Mothers, shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot prize and Dad, Remember You are Dead (2019), both from Nine Arches Press. A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller (2017) and Veritas: Poems after Artemisia (2020) were published by Hercules Editions. Her most recent play, The Noises was nominated for a Standing Ovation Award. One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets was published by Nine Arches Press in 2021 and her fifth collection, Velvel’s Violin will be out in summer 2023. She is a founder member of Poets for the Planet and teaches and mentors for The Poetry School.
Jacqueline Saphra followed her critically acclaimed, T. S. Eliot Prize shortlisted All My Mad Mothers (2017) with Dad, Remember You Are Dead. A disturbing relationship lies at the core of poems that confront patriarchy, power and the male canon, and consider the damage dead men can inflict on living women.
Find out more about Dad, Remember You Are Dead
The Nine Arches Press blog features poems from many of our poets, as well as interviews and articles.