Sunday, April 14, 2013

Poetic Musings: Ground Zero Haiku by Jack Galmitz

the end of summer
the names of the dead
read at ground zero

Jack Galmitz

The haiku above is the fourth poem in the opening section, titled "memorial stones," of yards & lots by Jack Galmitz. Written in the shasei style, it keenly captures the most moving moment in the annual 9/11 memorial ceremony: each and every one of the names of the dead read aloud at Ground Zero by fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandparents, siblings, and coworkers, some choked with emotion. The opening line successfully sets the scenic and emotive context for the poem, signifying the beginning of the process of decline that is initiated by Mother Nature. Like other three “memorial stones” haiku 1, this heartfelt haiku is visually allusive, and it reveals Jack’s thematic concerns that resonate with those explored in the nascent field of memory studies, one that has been influenced by academic theories of Holocaust memory and trauma 2.


1Below are the first three haiku in the opening section, “memorial stones:”

two light beams shining
where there were once twin towers –
my son, my daughter

in a field somewhere
a plane went down
remember us

in Bryant Park
2,753 empty chairs

not a breath of air

2 For further information on this topic, please see Richard Crownshaw, The Afterlife of Holocaust Memory in Contemporary Literature and Culture, New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. This book offers an in-depth analysis of the way in which representations of the Holocaust in literature, memorials, and monuments are transmitters of trauma.

1 comment:

  1. I published a review of Jack's yards & lots in A Hundred Gourds, 1:4, September 2012. It can be accessed at

    And please see Poetic Musings: Urban Haiku about "yards & lots,"