By Lora Straub / October 2016

    It’s impossible and undesirable to extricate Leora Fridman’s poems from the consternating political world we poets—more often than not—indifferently live in. “My Fault” does not, nor does it need to, illumine specific acts of violence or social injustices—the reader of this book is all-too-easily able to summon up the media headlines, the YouTube videos, the Facebook rants and preaches, an ever-streaming saturation of blood and news, gunshots and shouts threatening to completely overwhelm—and deaden—our  compassion.  Instead, through the sensitive speaker’s quiet reflections, “My Fault” offers a nonintrusive, welcome salve, “a balmy / reprieve” and shows us, even as the speaker struggles, how to keep writing and how to keep caring: don’t stop feeling.

    In “Can We Share the Pleasures”, the longest poem of the book, the speaker, an intimate “I”, includes many with a “few”: “few of us are absent / at the urge to be afraid.”  The speaker holds us, and herself, accountable by echoing the language of excuses in short couplets: “what more can you touch today / with a winter so wet” and identifies inaction: “how not rising / begins to diagnose”. Whatever the conflict, in “My Fault” it’s both a personal and universal problem, and Friedman’s “I” is a welcome would-be leader, firmly applying sparse, sensitive discourse to our fraught societal pressure points with an expert touch.


I said
don’t mind me

impressing this
upon you

I feed you

my hurting

my conscientious

meals as protectors
of broke chemistry

every ache sound
we can’t eat

becomes a cheap

becomes mild fodder
for play


we play
because it matters

for relief

how could you
lessen levels

if you never
ever shame


the curse
will find us shortly

on the planet
we have grown

what matters
spares us

what matters
goes to seed


I can be your
levelheaded leader

deep inside

a balmy

I can express less
from what we eat

press the most
delicate shapes

out through
a glaring sieve

Lora Straub lives in Boston, MA. She received her BA in Literary Arts from Brown University and was awarded the Judith Lee Stronach Scholarship for Excellence in Poetry by St. Mary’s College of California, where she earned her Poetry MFA. She considers her writing to be hybrid genre and is in the finishing stages of her first book. Her work can be found in Construction Mag, She Explores, The Fem, Small Po[r]tions, Wave Composition, et al.