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Judith Pacht’s subject is desire. Her poems act on it at every turn, advancing against caution, sending out lines of inquiry that shade and displace and subvert each other with persistent urgency, in language that is precise without ever becoming fragile. Pacht’s object is discovery: to locate the soul’s residence not only in the domestic scene, but in the everyday ceremonies of nature. "Not / stab & rustle / trampled stalks, / a scent of crush. // Instead / inside nothing / something / could give breath, make room / for the unperceived, / the unexpected." Turn by turn, Infirmary for a Private Soul is a beautiful book of poems. "
Dorothy Barresi, author of What We Did
While We Made More Guns
In this elegant and luminous new collection, Judith Pacht has written meditations of quiet delicacy on the self and the natural world, all of which gather into visceral understandings of even our most abstract reflections on the spirit and soul. Against the constants of beauty and change in the natural world, Judith Pacht sketches the many inconstancies of human experience with its breakdown of the body and its oscillations of the heart. Whatever the shards of a mirror we each might hold, her poems remind us, they reflect our necessary and daily courage. "
David St. John, author of The Last Troubadour:
New and Selected Poems
The poems in Judith Pacht’s Infirmary for a Private Soul, "elegant and spare, full of wild silences and subtle surprise, exude both confidence and patience.  "There’s a certain reserve," she writes in "On the Dresser," a poem about a tulip in a vase, "but the bloom’s warm/skin implies/something more//has elapsed." These lines strike me as a kind of ars poetica statement about all of the poems in this collection.  That "something more," more often than not, is wisdom, hard won and deftly handled.    The exterior world—the world of flowers, people, events, even of "wild canaries"—exists in these poems, rendered as delicately as if it dangled from a spider’s web.  But the interior world, with its longings and quietude—its “reserve”—takes precedence.    "[The] Soul...longs for the scent/of melted butter browning,/of singing,/anyone singing," Pacht writes in the title poem, evoking life as it is lived in the Infirmary for a Private Soul, that place within us from which all true poetry is born."
Gail Wronsky, author of Imperfect Pastorals

©2010 Katherine Williams