Bracha Nechama Bomze’s moving and revelatory debut collection is aptly titled. Love Justice can be read as an imperative: we must love—love actively—what sets us free. It might be invisibly hyphenated: when, finally, love-justice extends to same-sex couples, it is a crucial moment in the book. Love Justice also unites in complex ways two nouns, two fundamental human drives, without which not only our language, but we ourselves as private and social beings are dehumanized. It is a wisely chosen title, appended to a fierce and gentle book, part political/historical narrative, part memoir, and all tender lyric—an erotic and admiring love poem in which lover and beloved are women of conscience. Throughout its chronicling of many violations and restorations of human dignity in history and in families, wrongs done every day, and everyday struggles to right them, Love Justice ultimately urges us to see how beautiful and how just is the true human governance of love.
Love Justice is a compelling window into intertwining personal and ethical passions, from the Triangle Fire to the post-Stonewall era.
“How do we see past our own fragile shells?” is the profound question at the center of Bracha Nechama Bomze’s magnificent poetic debut. An image of Jewish communist farmers candling eggs in the “Yankee-White Connecticut” of the 1920s instigates Bomze’s generous vision of generational inheritance. Here is a page-turning, brilliantly-plotted, grand poetic narrative that unfolds the ways the personal story is the political story and the individual story is the universal. In poems that meditate on eros and agape, on history and identity, and on, yes, love and justice, Bomze has given us a scathing, tender, heartbreaking, life-affirming, remarkable book.