About the Author

Naomi Chase is a poet, fiction, and non-fiction writer who has written five books of poetry, The Judge's Daughter, Listening for Water, Waiting for the Messiah in Somerville, Mass., Gittel: The Would be Messiah, A Novel in Verse; and, most recently, Anonymous Fox; two chapbooks: Stacked (illustrated by Jon Agee), and The One Blue Thread, Flume Press Prize Winner. And two non-fiction books, A Child is Being Beaten, Violence Against Children in America, and The Underground Revolution: Hippies, Yippies, and Others. An unpublished novel won the 1996 Hackney Literary Award for fiction.

She has written for the New York Times, The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, etc. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in Sojourner, Ploughshares, The Harvard Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others.

Her new poetry book, Anonymous Fox, was published byTurning Point Press in October 2009.

Friday, November 13, 2009

ANONYMOUS FOX, Turning Point Press, October 2009

Review of ANONYMOUS FOX by Naomi Feigelson Chase,
(Turning Point, Cincinnati, OH, 2009)  Link

By Barbara Bialick

"ANONYMOUS FOX is a book you can dive right into even though the familiar yet obscure images keep you wondering what deftly sculpted insight you’re about to experience. One thing you’ll notice right away is that the author’s “veins secrete/Ink and tap water” and like “a cat keeps its own couch/I keep mine.”

She’s an individualist and yet, at the same time, just like the masses would, she dedicates this book to her grandson, Matthew, who will read it some day and see both beauty and horror concerned his grandmother, who named this collection after a dead fox Nadia wants to take the tail of, use it for a paintbrush and “bury the rest./It’s my fox isn’t it?/...As for its fur, the author says sardonically, 'why not keep it…like Jews’ hair stored/in an Argentine barn/for future use…/Isn’t all death a good riddance,/Lewd providence,/Quitting earth of the useless,/The dirties,/While we expedient managers/Go about our cleansing business.'

All through the book you’ll discover metaphors from nature that turn around and surprise you. For example, in 'American Brunhilde' she starts with 'Summers, I sleep circled with fans,/In kind Stygian light./Shades drawn./My dreams can’t be spied on/I’ve heard folks in the next town,/So fearful of terrorists,/They’ve painted their doors shut./The mailman puts their letters in the trees.'

On the page previous, the poem 'Cold Comfort' is taken from winter, 'Those snowy peaks, natures’s scarred darlings,/Comfort me, like Artemis’ one hundred breasts/…Like Pittsburgh winters,/When Zadi pulled my sled up Pocusset Street…/The furred pelf of trees,/Bristling with what./Stark successes now,/ Black matter in a thousand years.'

The person to whom all this is dedicated appears in the book now and then is revealed as a fellow poet or doctor in training… Her grandson wants to know if he can pick the white flowers on the pea plants. To quote her own quote: 'How do peas get into pods?' he asks. 'Call me when it happens.' A universal concept of where there is youth there is hope… But then again, she reveals in 'I Can Tell You Now': 'I can tell you now, I never expected this—to be old and ugly,/To turn away from the beach,/Struggle with the lid of a jar…I took misfortune’s road to the forest./Saw the warlock’s house and walked right in…'

Some of these poems were previously printed in prestigious publications like Harvard magazine and Iowa Review. She won the Flume Press poetry chapbook award and she’s published a variety of poetry books and chapbooks, nonfiction books, and fiction.
The publisher left no obvious note of the book’s price, which indicates what you may agree with when you read it, that this book is priceless…or in any case, certainly worth a read."

REVIEW by Miriam Goodman:

"I love Anonymous Fox.  I read with complete wonder and admiration how it takes us from the personal to the universal.  Chase looks back with wit, wisdom, and a sense of theatre as a woman moves from her personal preoccupations--marriage, her children's and grandchildren's lives--to the puzzling images of aging.  It's brilliant."


I, too, am wild to hold
Since Nadia found the tattered fox

Near my house, in the bednest
Of its ratty fur.

Nadia can't thin lettuce without wincing,
Yet she'd make a paintbrush of its tail,

Bury the rest.
It's my fox, isn't it,

My bed salted with its matted hair,
My own, thin skin.

As for its fur, why not keep it,
A housewife's thrift,

Like Jews' hair stored
In an Argentine barn, for future use,

Like Spaniards smelting
Ataphaulpha's gold gods to cannon.

Isn't all death a good riddance,
Lewd providence,

Quitting earth of the useless,
The dirties,

While we expedient manufacturers
Go about our cleansing business.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gittel, theWould-Be Messiah


She hears it just before sleep.
The doll who cries Mama is gone.
Gittel kneels, searches under the bed,
rolls onto her back to see how a voice looks.

The voice asks:
What did you see?

"Soot from the world's corners,
metal from earth's core,
sweating like Jews in Egypt."

The voice says:
I am the thumb your doll sucks,
the itch between your thighs.

"And I'm a fool to listen while a devil speaks of thighs."

I like your impudence.
You are mine,
still to be written.

"Who wants a fool to serve them?"

I am what I am.

Gittel, the Would-Be Messiah: A Novel in Verse, Naomi Chase, Turning Point Press: 2005. Gittel is a comic and biting novel in verse that gives the life story of Gittel, a woman chosen by God to assume the mantle of the Messiah.

Blending the concision of verse with the fast pace and plot turns of prose fiction, Gittel “gives us a character so lively, so rambunctious, so splendid in her reasoning,” writes poet Denise Duhamel, that “this provocative novel in verse reads as a mock-biography. "Chase’s on-target wit and verbal agility do more than challenge religious iconography. These poems transform tender and vulnerable human emotions and lift them into the political."

A completely engaging book that spins in the whirlwind of the feminine psyche.”

“Always her words pierce me and cause me to see and hear,” writes Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin.