by Duffie Taylor
7,000 SPARROWS is a meditative long poem addressed to Rafał Lemkin, the Polish-born linguist and lawyer who gave name to the crime of "genocide" and assured its irrevocable place in the framework of international law. Divided into seven parts, the poem examines genocide both as a historical act and a linguistic concept, encompassing voices from the perpetrators, victims and bystanders of past genocides. More than 50 years after Lemkin's death ended his unceasing effort to prevent the reoccurrence of humanity's greatest crime, 7,000 SPARROWS resurrects the questions that his life strove to answer, the primary one being: Is it possible for language to preserve our humanity in the midst of its annihilation?
Preview from "Jerusalem":
Duffie Taylor recently graduated from the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Before that she spent time with America Corps in Alaska, as a journalist in Virginia and Oregon, and she taught English for a year at the Kibiti Secondary School in Tanzania, returning to Tanzania in 2015 for intensive study in Kiswahili in a Fulbright Foundation supported program. Her work has appeared in both literary journals and the anthologies, Best New Poets 2007 and Thirty, the celebratory collection of work from the first three decades of the Mississippi Review. Forty pieces from her work-in-progress, “South: An Errant Geography,” won the Tupelo Quarterly Open Prize in 2015. She lives and works in Mobile, Alabama.