Poetry. Jenny Drai's THE HISTORY WORKER examines the author's experience as the descendent of Romanian and German immigrants and leads the reader on a journey that begins with (and coalesces around) a visit to Hearst Castle, built on what was once native Chumash land. This journey also takes turns through Drai's childhood as she comes to map out and identify perhaps one of the most damning collisions between US history and the immigrant experience: namely that it is impossible to 'discover' a body of land that is already populated. Sometimes pointed, sometimes dreamy, THE HISTORY WORKER charts out and examines the influences on one individual's imagination. The author remembers elementary school history lessons and early years spent paging through Will and Ariel Durant's popular history opus The Story of Civilization. She considers the influences of, as an adult, watching Deadwood (with its own Hearst tie-in) and engaging with Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival. Drai explores how what has been absorbed by imagination can correspond to and encourage necessary questioning of the often incomplete record of US history. Grounded in a child's curiosity, THE HISTORY WORKER invites the reader to both "be your own damnation" and to "restore 'personally' the manifestations of memory and of history."
Jenny Drai is the author of three collections of poetry: THE HISTORY WORKER (Black Lawrence Press, 2017), WINE DARK (Black Lawrence Press, 2016), and THE DOOR (Trembling Pillow Press, 2015). Two poetry chapbooks have also been published. They are THE NEW SORROW IS LESS THAN THE OLD SORROW (Black Lawrence Press, 2015)) and :Body Wolf: (Horse Less Press). A novella, Letters to Quince, was awarded the Deerbird Novella Prize and published by Artistically Declined Press. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, including American Letters and Commentary, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, and The Volta, among others. In addition, she was recently awarded the 2017 Gail B. Crump Prize in Experimental Fiction from Pleiades Magazine. She studied literature and foreign languages at Beloit College and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary's College of California. She blogs about her current project (a novel about Beowulf, bees, and queens), neurodivergence, and transatlantic life, and posts photos from her travels at jennydrai.com. She lives in Bonn, Germany.Author City: BONN GER