Many to Remember by Rachel Kaufman is given two reviews, one by Kristen Renzi, and the other by James Berger in Restless Messengers – Poetry in Review.
Roots and deracination. Histories that have not/are not passed/past. Words that grasp for, miss, hit, and glance off their marks. Crypto-Jews. These are just a few of the governing tensions that organize Rachel Kaufman’s exciting and masterful debut collection, Many to Remember (Dos Madres Press, 2021). These themes are deeply personal within Kaufman’s hands (the five-page opening preface, “Rooting Down”, for instance, locates such global phenomena as anti-Semitism and persecution, forced migration, memories and traditions kept and secreted away within the familial histories of the speaker). And yet, they never become self-centered—the personal narratives of migration from Europe to America from Germany and Poland are laid out alongside the stories of Sephardic migration from Spain and Portugal to South and North America that occurred over three hundred years earlier. The motion, the mixing, and the uncertainties are the throughlines that merge these histories of exile and organize the Jewish diasporic terrain the collection traverses, back and forth again.