Although her poems are probably well known to many members of this site and her "I Was Not There" has become one of the most frequently quoted reflections on the Holocaust, I had never really felt that they came across as strongly as I would have liked.
In fact, it was not until I was drawn into my partner Vanessa Rosenthal's researches for her new play - "KAREN'S WAY: a kindertransport
life" (which opens at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on 13th August see http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/the...transport-life
) - that I grew to appreciate the deep, natural strength and reserve of her work. In particular, hearing her, in a televsion documentary from 1990 (made available to Vanessa by the artist Stella Tripp - Karen's elder daughter and literary executor), has transformed how I now hear the poems. This is not because of her readings (there are few in the programme) but because of the natural way in which they flow, in my head, out of her everyday speaking voice.
I once saw footage of McDiarmid sitting writing poems by his fireside, scribbling away on his pad like Schubert on a table-cloth, and now reading Karen Gershon has the same sense of a river's tale of a life lived - and I think she is well worthy of rereading, rehearing and reflection.
I'd be interested in hearing others' thoughts.
Best to all,