Drama. Poetry. Jewish Studies. In 38 short scenes, alternating between 1992 in Philadelphia and 1943-1944 in Gribniv, Ukraine, there emerges in SOMETHING THAT BELONGS TO YOU a story of survival and memory, of complex Ukrainian-Jewish relations, of struggles to remember and forgive. The language of this autobiographical play is poetic (especially in the wartime scenes!) and there are in it flashes of humor, even burlesque. The underlying themes are of coming to term with great loss, of the importance of both remembering and forgetting on the way to forgiving, and of the choices, always there, that human beings must make between good and evil in terrible times.
Roald Hoffmann was born in 1937 in Złoczów, then Poland, now Ukraine. After surviving the Nazi occupation and after several years of postwar wandering in Europe, he and his mother and stepfather made their way to the United States in 1949, settling in New York City. He graduated from PS 16, Brooklyn, Stuyvesant High School, Columbia University, and from Harvard University with a PhD in chemical physics. Since 1965, Hoffmann has been engaged in teaching and research in theoretical chemistry at Cornell University, where he is now Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus. In chemistry he has taught his colleagues how to think about electrons influencing structure and reactivity, and won most of the honors of his profession. Hoffmann is also a writer—of poetry, essays, non-fiction, and plays—carving out his own land between poetry, philosophy, and science. Hoffmann had his first real introduction to poetry at Columbia from Mark Van Doren, the great teacher and critic whose influence was at its height in the 1950's. He began to write poetry in the mid-seventies, but it is only in 1984 that his work began to be published. Hoffmann owes much to a poetry group at Cornell that included A. R. Ammons, Phyllis Janowitz and David Burak, as well as to Maxine Kumin. His poems have appeared in many magazines and several anthologies, have been translated into French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan (10 poems), Galician (6 poems), Polish, Croatian and Swedish. Six collections of his poetry have been published previously, including bilingual collections in Spanish in Madrid, and in Russian in Moscow. Hoffmann also writes nonfiction (five books) and plays (three plays produced). He is the author of SOMETHING THAT BELONGS TO YOU (Dos Madres Press, 2015) and THE CONSTANTS OF THE MOTION (Dos Madres Press, 2020).
Author City: ITHACA, NY USA