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Eyewear Publishing

Without You

Without You

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By Ditta Baron Hoeber

Poetry - Paperback


An infant is mortally ill and cries and cries. A child wishes the terrible crying to end. The infant dies.

Without You is without the infant. It is also without the self that hides from itself in fear of itself. It is a record of the struggle to understand and to restore the self. The photographs described in the poems act as evidence – who was there, who was I, what does it mean. Making art is portrayed as an act of exploration and as a means of staying alive. The writing is formed to parallel the interplay of masked and unmasked thoughts that are the slow and nonlinear path to recognition and to understanding in this powerful, gripping sequence.


Ditta Baron Hoeber, a poet and an artist living in Philadelphia, has handmade over 200 artist’s books. This is the first book others have made for her. Schooled as an artist, Hoeber came to poetry on her own. Published in The  Journal of American Poetry, Juxtaprose, Burningword Literary Review, and the American Poetry Review among others, Hoeber’s visual art has also been acquired by collections across the U. S. and in London.


As “a line of light falls across my eye. // one line of forgiveness then // was all that I could do,” Ditta Baron Hoeber inscribes loss and yet, in the delineation of that tension, that predicament, she also enacts a form of recovery and recognition that enlivens us all. This is a spare and deeply moving book. — Arthur Sze


In flashes of recollection, in flares of supposition and speculation, the fragments and fables of Ditta Baron Hoeber’s Without You trace the aftermath of a childhood trauma, with its attendant guilts and resentments and  mystifications, and simultaneously explore the “power of subtraction”: “there is so much space in my imagination,” Hoeber writes; and “this nothing is information.” Hoeber’s minimalist approach provokes the reader’s awareness of the reduction of memory into affect, of the “little remove” that paradoxically makes representation more telling than fact. Like the obsessive artist who constructs human figures from cardboard, dismantles them, then starts again; like the child who constructs and dresses ornate paper dolls, but never plays with them, Hoeber folds and refolds this past, offering us “little fists of song,” bringing us with her to “oh.” Terse, taut, gnomic, wrenching, and subtly evocative, Without You offers a compelling demonstration of a reality at once irrecoverable and irrevocable. - Nathalie Anderson


The world Ditta Baron Hoeber’s poems come from is a strange one. The poetry there is written in many languages – all of which she speaks fluently. She is the last remaining person to speak one other language from that place. I can think of no other way to describe this astonishing original work. The subjects of Without You are loss, love, ghosts, ceremony, celebration. There is always something of interest something more I want to know and so I keep on – in her words. These are the souvenirs and snapshots she has brought back with her. These fierce, dazzling, piercing poems are Ditta Baron Hoeber’s gifts to us. - Leonard Gontarek

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