On Say So:
“The two-faced (at minimum) essence of language is Dora Malech’s inherited problem, and her opportunity: nothing is just what it says, and everything says much more than it knows. “I hope you like dirt because that’s what you’re getting,” she warns, or promises. Malech is ferociously alert to the unconscious absurdity and desire in idiomatic speech, its mortifying blend of self-effacement and self-betrayal. The closer one stares at the dizzying, ultra-fluent surfaces of these poems, the more their grave ambiguities emerge.”
“Say So flaunts the powers inherent in the duplicities of language, words as reactants in shifting contexts and punning-under-pressure, yet it settles for no easy, cool ironies, no detached assumptions of transgression; in fact, it achieves what can only be called white-hot sincerity and committed truthfulness. This is writing of astonishing prosodical dexterity and lexical wiles. What strikes me as most courageous is that even as Dora Malech’s poetry confronts social, political and personal despair and wreckage, it never sacrifices innovative fire, will not be made mute or abjure the glorious means of poetry.
Say So is available from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center.
Shore Ordered Ocean:
On Shore Ordered Ocean:
“These are wonderful poems. Dora Malech knows just about everything there is to know about the risky music that lives in language. But she also knows about Truth and Beauty. She’s far too wise to try and make these last two rhyme, but she constantly tempts them into conversation.”
— Bill Manhire
“If you’d wondered where the dappled things had gone, how the tisket and tasket ended up, what the fickle, freckled, couple-colored pieces of life were up to, look no further. Dora Malech has woven them into her exuberant debut. And she’s stuck in too the x-rays of Zeus and the horns of Moses. Shore Ordered Ocean is by turns witty and wonderstruck, fragile and fierce. Best of all, it announces an extraordinary talent to be watched and cherished.”
— J.D. McClatchy
“Inquiring, irreverent, reverent, enraptured, Dora Malech is that rare thing, the magician technician, and she has written a book in which a sudden segue in poetry takes place — from Hopkins to the present. The result is as breathtaking as a dove release. She knows every word in the world is a book, that every center sought and found is continually thrown off, that the muscular is fragile and vice-versa, yet none of her old soul knowledge is ponderous, predictable, or dull, for she remains in love with that essential playfulness which is the innocence of art. Here is Malech on the birth of a child: ‘ . . . unfold all / those origami limbs to test / the inevitable debutante bawl.’ This book is an astonishing debut, one that makes me feel our original, lost language has found its way home.”
— Mary Ruefle
Shore Ordered Ocean is available from The Waywiser Press.