Cover Image: The Distance from Odessa

The Distance from Odessa

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Member Reviews

*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free poetry collection*

This poetry collection describes the intergenerational journeys of a family, going through world wars and cultures, meeting history head on.

Many of the poems did not really work for me, but the woven narrative was interesting.

3 Stars
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Poetic family history of a Jewish girl from her grand-parents to her daughter. I read this in one setting. It was both a learning and heart-breaking reading experience. Every history and literature class from upper middle grades to college must have this to enlighten students to a religious history unlike their own.
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Thank you, NetGalley for this ARC.

This fell flat for me and I would not recommend this. Someone else may really like this, but it just bored me.
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This is a beautiful collection of poetry that is both haunting and familiar. 
The author explores how she has found her place in the world, through not only her own lived experiences, but those that came from before her. The idea of being 'other' and trying to fit in is one that will resonate with many. 

I did have some issues with the ebook - there are a few errors, and it was reformatted in a way that didn't always make sense. That said, I would use pieces of this collection in a classroom to teach poetry. The connections that students will be able to draw between the poet's life and that of their own will allow for deeper analysis and understanding of both the subject and themselves.
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Althought the premise of Seitchik's "The Distance from Odessa" was absolutely to my liking, my expectations, sadly, were not met; some poem hit home and resonated with me, yet in total the themes fell flat.
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I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an Advanced Reader Copy through NetGalley. This is an honest review and an opinion of how I felt reading these poems.
Being the Other (so beautifully described in her poem: "First Generation"), feeling like belonging nowhere is very familiar to me.
The poet takes us to a journey showing us glimpses of her life, the life of her mother, her grandmother and her daughter. 

She is narrating how these women experience life in their new home, carrying with them memories of their life before. We can feel the weight of these memories in this passage from the poem "Attic":  One more space to inhabit, fairy dust in limbo, a trove of treasures like hoarded wealth, memories of a kingdom, of a once upon a time".

She is talking about her experience of feeling torn between two places to call home in her poem: " Between two lands".
 I loved this passage from "Between two lands" : 
What can I tell you of your new distant agenda?
How to forecast the hard work of living-
to be between two countries, the now and then.
Will you long for native air?
How will this tumbling across a continent
fit into your wild attachment
to the orderliness of your worlds?

In her poem: " Place" she is describing the need one feels to belong when moving to a new place, this need to grow roots, despite knowing that this place is only a temporary home.
( "  Consider the many roads, the feverish pace, the hustle, the language of another... Place enters everyone's skin. Perhaps you feel a belonging, impatient to learn this land, the turmoil of its history"). 

The poem "Yearning from Home" illustrates how making your surroundings feel like home is essential when moving to a new place ( " Not my walls/ Not my space/ Thirty-five years here/ So I accessorize / with familiarity /encase the house/ in the opulence/of greenery and art) .
 Many times this is not successful so you end up looking for the place you belong, no matter how far it is. 
 ( " Absent is the felt sense 
of myself as place
 like those stairs)....
(" Now, so far removed,
the left behind is adrift
yearning home, real
ad imagined,
beyond reach)


A few other poems that resonated with me are: "Strangeland", "So much is borderless", "Longing", "Underdog".
I would recommend this collection of poems to travellers and to the souls whose life in an endless search for a place to call home.
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The premise of this poem book interested me from its premise. I am the child of immigrants, and there often if this place of in between. Something in this collection of poetry fell flat for me. I think it may have been the writing style which kept the reader at a distance. the imagery was lush, but there was a lack of emotional impression. This was striking because the topics were complex ones. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for providing me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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