Motherhood and growing up in the Bronx are the two main threads running through Judith Baumel’s recent poetry collection “The Kangaroo Girl” (GenPop Books, 2011). Gaining force with each new poem, these themes grow into personal mythologies that lend themselves to mirth, nostalgia and philosophy.
The collection, of course, is not limited to these two subjects. In fact, the variety of ideas and forms filling the book makes it seem that Baumel is capable of doing anything, and of doing it with virtuosity and wit. The poem “Hem Stitch Hemi Stichs” uses a knitting pattern for its form (the title puns on the word “stich,” which is Greek for a verse or line of poetry), while “Winchester” consists of a sequence of “dialogs” with the medieval chronicler of King Richard I, who was known for his violence against the Jews, and whose words and actions serve as a basis for author’s exploration of her own identity.