ABBA KOVNER (1918-1987) was born in Sebastopol, Russia, and was a leader in the Vilna ghetto uprising during World War II. After the war, he helped take European Jews into Palestine, where he settled with his wife. In 1970, he won the Israel Prize for Literature.
"A work of self-commemoration that takes the side of continuing existence . . . A book written from the dark side of alienation . . . it shimmers with the dark radiance--the stark beauty--of last things." --Edward Hirsch, The New York Times Book Review "Moving . . . In these plainspoken poems . . . Kovner meditates on the possibility of heroism in the face of illness." --The New Yorker "Abba Kovner wrote about his impending death with a broken heart--a heart laid open to longing, to memory, to love, to the ugly details of cancer treatment. The Sloan-Kettering Poems are unsentimentally, passionately, furiously alive." --Anita Diamant (author of Saying Kaddish, The Red Tent, and Good Harbor) "Here is a work of art, masterfully presented." --A.B. Yehoshua "Abba Kovner was one of the greatest poet-fighters in the Jewish tradition. I grew up in his light, as did many of those of my generation. He was a hero to us all, and a splendid poet. To read, hear, experience the intimacy of his last months--that is something very powerful." --Chaim Potok "These are beautiful, stern, lacerating poems written by a genuine hero as he was dying of cancer. They detail his struggle to bear witness to the destruction of his body and the perseverance of his will and identity. It is a terrifying but superb legacy he has given us." --Marge Piercy "In this deeply moving collection, Kovner shows the same greatness of spirit in confronting cancer that he showed in confronting Nazis in the Vilna ghetto." --Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People