The poems that follow come from Rachel Kaufman’s poetry thesis collection, Many to Remember, grounded in the history of New Mexico crypto-Jewish memory and the Mexican Inquisition. The collection weaves together archival research, oral histories, and linguistic play, encountering nostalgia, memory, and translation in stories both distant from and near to her own.
Through her collection, Rachel Y’19 posits that poetry can serve as a means to empathy, preserving archival voices and words while bringing them into the present to mingle, wander, and adapt. The poetic line, intimate and revelatory, seems to bring the past a bit closer.
Sifting historical content through this poetic line pushes her work, making more difficult the pressures of rhetoric against form, story against melody. In powerful historical poetry, history is enlivened and renewed; in turn, the creative form is enriched by (and weighted with) the task of truthfully carrying the past into the present. Many to Remember enters and records the process of unearthing voices of the past and translating them for and through the language of the present moment.
Read poems from the collection here: Inquisition Letters, Archive’s Tales I, Archive’s Tales II.
Pictured: Mathias de Bocanegra, Auto general de la Fee: celebrado por el tribunal del S. Officio de la Inquisicion de Mexico, dominica in Albis II. de abril de 1649, En Mexico: Por Antonio Calderon, Impressor del Secreto del S. Officio en la Calle de San Agustin, [1649?]