Deborah Kahan Kolb’s rich and poignant Windows and a Looking Glass opens with “The House that Made Me,” a kind of love song to her mother, “soaking in the smells and the safety of her.” But Windows is even more; in one of Kolb’s bravest and most haunting poems, “Girl’s Song,” a young woman ends her life in the context of the strict rules she must follow dictated by religious observance. “When I fall no one will notice my scandalous ankles/ when my long navy skirt flips up around my waist/ as I drop twenty stories down to/ where Hashem will surely meet me.” What’s so satisfying about Kolb’s collection, is that it takes us full circle. We meet desire fulfilled in sex, “blood, mine and yours awash with wine, ” and in parenthood, “to listen for the mewling that always came right before / you needed me,” and in personhood, “Tell me again how I am/ in the red gold glow of early light.”
-Sarah Stern, author of But Today Is Different and Another Word For Love
Deborah Kahan Kolb’s Windows and a Looking Glass introduces a poet who can move us with a perfectly-chosen word or image or with a line that, in a succinct and surprising way, pulls all the threads and colors of a poem together. Many of the pieces in this first collection will touch you in unexpected ways, as a passing stranger’s voice overheard through a window sometimes does. Whatever you do, don’t miss “Eldest Daughter,” “After Auschwitz, “Honeymoon Eyes,” or “Monthling”. Then find your own favorites.
-Charles Adès Fishman, editor of Blood to Remember: American Poetry on the Holocaust (Time Being Books, 2007) and Veils, Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women (Kasva Press, 2016)
I love the exuberance of the poems in Deborah Kahan Kolb’s debut collection, Windows and a Looking Glass, the way they embrace life in all its startling complexity. And this book of linked poems about Kolb’s personal experience will have universal appeal, for, as the speaker says in the lovely poem, “Zhou Ling,” “We are more alike than people imagine.”
-Elizabeth J. Coleman, author of Proof and The Fifth Generation