Carol Dine & Samuel Bak


Carol Dine and Samuel Bak together.











An archway vaults

over the courtyard,

the stone, enchanted

by roseate light.


After the storming,

dispossessed keys

flood the alley:

some have turned

copper blue;

others are circular

like wedding rings.


At dusk,

their shadows


at the ghetto wall.







Objets D’Art     


The attic is burning.

The curtain of animal skin,


The clothesline’s a noose.


Objects flee

to the front of the house:


a bruised wine cup

a pear, rounded as a breast

a severed violin


There is nobody

left to tell

on the man walking away

into the forest.







The Writer


Memory cloudy,

thick as mud.


How do I tell?


the muffled sound   stuttering machine guns

my grandparents falling in the Ponar woods


my father whispering   sshh

carrying me inside a burlap bag


In the stream’s murmur,

I listen for their voices.


I’m afraid

of the oncoming dark;

at my back,

the wind picks up,

rustles the sturdy reeds,


A signal

for the gathering clatter

of stories.









The house is gone.


The floor sinks

into ocean.

All the walls have vanished,

the walls are sky.


Unseen in a corner,

a girl folds in half

with her doll.


Above her,


easter egg blue,

breath, expanding.


She whispers,

O God.







New Moon For An Old Landscape”


On its side, the cup

expands to cradle the cosmos.


From every direction, God roars;

lightning cracks the cloud-skin.


Then, in the silence, a shattering

of blue mountains, roofs of the ghetto houses.


From the violet sky,

a fragment of new moon


comes down to fit itself

where the cup is broken.










Artist Samuel Bak was born in Vilnius, Lithuania (then Poland) in 1933. Having survived the Holocaust, he emigrated to Israel where he studied at the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem. The artist has lived and worked in Tel Aviv, Paris, Rome, New York, and Lausanne. In 1993, he settled in Massachusetts and became an American citizen.

Bak has had numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums in the US, Israel, and Europe, including Galleria Schneider, Rome, Alwin Gallery, London, Galerie Carpentier, Paris, Galerie Marc Richard, Zurich, Soufer Gallery, NYC, and Pucker Gallery, Boston; Rose Museum, Brandeis University, Yad Vashem Museum, Jerusalem, Felix Nussbaum Haus, Osnabrueck, Germany, Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, and City Hall Gallery, Orlando, Florida. Bak’s memoir, Painted in Words (Indiana University Press, 2001), with an introduction by Amos Oz, has been translated into several languages. New Perceptions of Old Appearances in the Art of Samuel Bak by Lawrence L. Langer was published in 2005. In 2001, the artist returned to his hometown, Vilna, where his paintings were displayed in the National Museum. In 2012, Bak received an honorary doctorate from the University of New Hampshire.


About Carol Dine’s book, Van Gogh in Poems (Bitter Oleander Press, 2009), art critic and author John Berger wrote: “Her observation of (Van Gogh’s) drawings equals his observation of what he was drawing.” Her memoir, Places in the Bone (Rutgers University Press, 2005), explores the redemptive power of art. Norman Mailer praised Dine’s prose as “a poet’s prose, often beautiful.”

Her poems appear in literary magazines, including Aesthetica Creative Arts Annual (UK), Boulevard, Inkwell, Lilith and Salamander, and the anthologies After Shocks: Poetry of Recovery and Poems Against War: Bending Toward Justice.

Dine received grants from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Saint Botolph Club Foundation. She has been a resident at the McDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ragdale and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She teaches writing at Massachusetts College of Art & Design, USA.

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