By Hilton Obenzinger
Irene Weinberger Books
WITNESS 2017-2020 chronicles four years of troubles, shootings, wildfires, racial reckoning, planetary murder, plague, monumental lies, crazy delusions, #MeToo, an uprising for justice, and more. But a failed far-right insurrection had to be the capstone of these terrible times, and the nation is not done yet. What was once unfamiliar and strange (“flatten the curve”) has become common, even banal, demanding a poem. Language has to keep up, and Hilton Obenzinger presents a powerful testimony filled with rage, fear, laughter, and joy.
“Hilton Obenzinger bears witness to a time like no other in recent memory,” writes Margaret Randall. “These poems tell it like it is. When this poet tells us that he had a dream in which he was walking through beautiful woods with Moses, and that he doesn’t mean Charlton Heston but ‘more like the old graybeard Walt Whitman,’ we know where these poems are headed. Go with them. I promise you won’t regret it.” According to Neeli Cherkovski, “There is a wide-ranging heart at work and the surprises that come with a unique poetic vision.”
Diane di Prima: “I have been following Hilton Obenzinger’s work with delight and astonishment for over 40 years. He is a treasure. Funny, surreal, radical – he is the American Jonathan Swift.”
Cover photograph by Alan Senauke. San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Marina, September 9, 2020. That day the sky turned orange when smoke from wildfires blew over the low clouds of the marine layer, filtering out the rest of the sun’s spectrum.
Hilton Obenzinger writes criticism, poetry, fiction, and history. His most recent book is Treyf Pesach (Un-Kosher Passover), and other books include Busy Dying, New York on Fire, Cannibal Eliot and the Lost Histories of San Francisco, American Palestine, and This Passover Or The Next I Will Never Be in Jerusalem, which received the American Book Award.
Available from online distributors, such as Bookshop.org.