Gerry Sarnat’s tough, witty, language-obsessed poems are both a post-holocaust reconstruction of his family’s history and a progression towards a declaration of his own intention. In his seventh decade, after a medical career that included doctoring the homeless, the poet declares: “I must give birth.” I admire the skill of the poetry—often as precise as a diagnosis—as well as his labor-like decision. The poems may be unsentimental but they are also, importantly, emotional.

—Phyllis Koestenbaum, Stanford, Doris Day and Kitschy Melodies and other poetry collections