Paperback. Verge Books (2014).
Mnemosyne as memory is mother to the nine muses, who bring us forgetfulness of evil and rest from pain, according to the epic poets. But what does the lyric poet do with the mother of the muses, when his language is plosives and assonance erupting from thickets? “This scriptlessness // will be about subsistence, it will become / the centerpiece of a belief,” announces Eric Elshtain near the outset of his remarkable first full-length collection, an antic assembly of highly-wrought hymns and Linnaean hexes in which memory narrows and billows “while we go headlong / to eat the arms of charlatans // rescuing every rickety magician / from salvation.”
“This Thin Memory A-ha is a singular, sonically, and rhythmically rich book of poems. Its imperatives—‘keep teeth inside a hailstone; / howl spirals into little deserts / or hypnotize what has fallen / into your hands’—challenge us to re-envision and experience our world, where we must ‘take this light / under which we have nothing not to see.’” Arthur Sze
About the Author
Eric Elshtain is a homemaker and teaching poet whose poetry, reviews, and interviews can be found inMcSweeney's, Skanky Possum, Notre Dame Review, Ploughshares, American Letters & Commentary,Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, Fact-Simile, and other print and on-line journals. The author of several chapbooks including The Cheaper the Crook, the Gaudier the Patter (Transparent Tiger Press, 2004) andHere in Premonition (RubbaDucky, 2006), Elshtain has a full-length book of poetry, This Thin Memory A-hafrom Verge Books. He is also the editor of Jon Trowbridge's on-line Beard of Bees Press.
Through the non-profit arts education organization Snow City Arts, he is the poet-in-residence at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County and Univerisy of Illinois Children’s Hospitals where he conducts poetry and art workshops with patients ranging in age from six to 21. He also teaches literature at Ascension Catholic School in Oak Park, Illinois and the Better Boys Foundation in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. He received his doctorate from the University of Chicago, writing a dissertation about the relationship between poetry and speculative science in the 18th and 19th centuries.