|In this literary memoir, poet and essayist Michael Heller interweaves family and personal history with reflections on language, poetry, religion, and memory itself.
Living Root is the story of an education, a writer's wandering through personal and family history, through texts and traditions. Recalling his family's origins in Bialystok as well as his own childhood in Brooklyn and Miami Beach, poet and essayist Michael Heller creates a rich mosaic of reflections on his past, his origins, and the entanglements of thought and religion that have shaped his life and writing. Living Root enlarges the memoir genre, vividly illuminating the interactions of memory, autobiography, and the evolving creative self.
It matters to tell such stories as this one, the heartfelt particulars of a very real and common life. It's what it means to keep the faith, and in the subtle resources of this articulate poet's testament, one voice again speaks for all. Robert Creeley, author of Day Book of a Virtual Poet
...one of the most touching memoirs of growing up Jewish in America. Heller is a serious poet who thinks about his Jewish identity through autobiography and poetry. But he also presents the ultimate conundrum of Jewish life after the Shoah: he proves that American English may be the major 'Jewish' language of the late twentieth century. Sander Gilman, The University of Chicago
Both autobiography and ars poetica, Michael Heller's uncanny Living Root modulates between graceful anecdote and brooding meditation, between driven prose and auratic verse. It is a work of crossings, hauntings, reanimations: a mighty golem walking the lost Jewish streets of Brooklyn and Miami Beach. Norman Finkelstein, author of The Ritual of New Creation: Jewish Tradition and Contemporary Literature
What a gift, this Living Root of Michael Heller's!a story to add to Kazin's A Walker in the City and Roth's Patrimony. . . . A heart- and mind-warming story. John Felstiner, author of Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew
Michael Heller has published six volumes of poetry, the most recent being Wordflow: New and Selected Poems.