Fragments of a visit to Buchenwald by Julia Caroline Knowlton

Fragments of a visit to Buchenwald

a survivor on film recounts
one prisoner killing another

over a fistful of potato peels
meant to feed the officers’ pigs

the iron table where gold fillings
were extracted

from angel-light corpses

our guide showing us art
made by prisoners
how did they get paper and pencil
I asked

our guide our teacher
the angel-light art still here
bearing witness

on Sundays some prisoners
held small concerts
singing songs remembered

reciting poems


Julia Caroline Knowlton is the Adeline A. Loridans Professor of French at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. Recognition for her poetry includes an Academy of American Poets College Prize and a 2018 Georgia Author of the Year award. Kelsay Books will publish her newest chapbook, Life of the Mind, in the autumn of 2023.

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