“This is a compelling book about origins—of ancestry, memory, and language. Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach's gift is to bring the past into relevance; we feel its immediacy, almost urgency. I am struck by both its timeliness and timelessness. This book brings us living history in beautiful, terrible complexity."
~ Ellen Bass
"Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach has written an urgent, rigorous, and fiercely intelligent book of poems, unencumbered by illusion or alibi, suffused with love. Her allegiance to the truth of the past is inseparable from that one inescapable name for the mother: allegiance to the future."
~ Linda Gregerson
"Book of motherhood, of histories and bloodlines, teaches us how the family, at times, is the only island we might have inside that ugly tempest known as history. The joy in this tempest is the joy of mother seeing her child. For it is a mother who always finds a way out even when there is no way out. Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach does so without false sentimentalism. For in a time like ours, mothers have no time to be sentimental. It is a stunning book."
~ Ilya Kaminsky
"In this stunning debut, we discover our history through names, their origins and our first attempts to name our mother—a history that transforms every time a son calls the world his family. The hurts of the world feel close here, but in this book when everything falls apart, each poem teaches us how to make our love a gentle animal again and call down the light that drowns us."
~ Traci Brimhall
"Don’t Touch the Bones, this remarkable second collection by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, shows its author hard at work to transform the experience of cultural losses—of lands, language, and legacy—into a poetry of remembrance, homage, and power. She inherited generations of memories and found an uncommon resolve to record the emotional life of her people, Jews only recently emigrated from Ukraine. Though she might be seen as a documentarian of loss, her voice is not hectoring but elegiac, bringing a ferocious lyricism to what might otherwise be the repressed micro-histories, lost narratives of exile, and heirlooms of desperation and diaspora. Her poems rake the oracle bones of her family’s flight from persecution, reading in their fissures a dialogic language both of sorrow and determination."
~ Garrett Hongo