Mark, Sabrina Orah
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The introduction, "How To Make a Poem out of Tsim Tsim", is a critical exploration of Tsim Tsum, a Kabbalistic claim in Jewish mysticism that a being cannot become, or come into existence, unless the creator of that being departs from that being. As its title suggests, the essay attempts to illustrate how a Tsim Tsum can be enacted poetically. Using historical fragments, personal anecdote, and literary influences, the essay illustrates how galut or exile can be injected into a poem formally and stylistically. Tsim Tsum is a collection of prose poems. At the center of these poems are Beatrice and Walter B., two figures hatched in galut or exile. In many ways Walter B. and Beatrice are immigrants in their native land. Along the way they encounter The Healer, The Collector, Walter B.'s Extraordinary Cousin, The Oldest Animal, and an assemblage of humans who mystify the nature of humanity. All these figures are staged to explore the immigrant experience, survival, testimony, and belonging.