Nothing More to Lose
by Carolyn Martin
Scheduled Release Date: Jan 12, 2021
Nothing More to Lose is an intense, hair-raising, and hopeful account of one family’s resilience and faith. With poems based on Therese Kolbert Dieringer’s autobiography (My Life – Lived and Remembered: A journey across Hungary, Germany, and America), Carolyn Martin tracks the Kolbert family as they escape from Hungary in 1944, endure seven years of starvation and sickness in Germany, and arrive to a new life in America in 1952. Refugees who know neither the language nor landscape, they finally find some semblance of peace in their new home.
Martin knows her subject well. Dieringer is a family friend whose autobiography she edited in 2008. This intimate connection flows through powerful free verse poems that are filled with immediacy, insight, and compassion. Nothing More to Lose will open readers’ hearts and minds to the challenges that refugees in every era experience. It will also affirm the power poetry has to bear witness to that suffering and to the strength lying deep within the human spirit.
“In her introduction to Nothing More to Lose, Carolyn Martin says, ‘… even in the worst of times, people can be kind.’ That idea buoys these poems that share a truly horrific tale of survival beginning in WWII Hungary. Through Martin’s deftly crafted images, we see into the life of Therese Kolbert Dieringer as she and her family flee Nazis, bombs, starvation, and more. The long journey that concludes in America brings Therese to a safer, but not necessarily less cruel, place. I had to take little breaks as I read these poems; that human beings are capable of causing so much pain is nearly unbearable. But Dieringer’s voice comes through each of Martin’s poems showing how kindness and cruelty co-exist in us all, and how true strength and resilience cannot be extinguished. Most importantly, kindness wins.”
~ Kathleen Cassen Mickelson, cofounder of Gyroscope Review
and blogger at One Minnesota Writer
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