Reading How to Disappear, I have the sense of someone tearing the past apart and rebuilding with naked raw hands. Claudia Reder is a storyteller and this book is her lyrical gift to us, poems of growing up in the teeming city with the complex women who shaped her—immigrant grandmother and mother whose rich mix of languages turned the struggling young girl into a poet who survives to tell their stories. “The list of ghosts / who, no matter where I wonder, / who I marry, / who as mother, wife and sister, / haunt me still.” These full to bursting poems recreate large, unavoidable terrors and the seemingly small but necessary moments of joy that make art an act of love. They constantly go farther, go deeper with language that is wildly alive, informed by erudite and whimsical exuberance. How to Disappear is a splendid book, serious, poetically authentic, spiritually discerning. As I read it, I keep thinking, “This is why I love poetry.
Claudia M. Reder is the author of Uncertain Earth (Finishing Line Press) and My Father & Miro (Bright Hill Press). She has received the Charlotte Newberger Poetry Prize from Lilith Magazine, selected by Alicia Ostriker. She has a passion for helping other people tell their stories. She has an M.F.A. from the Iowa Workshop and a Ph.D. in Storytelling from New York University. For many years she was a poet in the Schools on the east coast and has offered many workshops for all ages in creativity. She teaches at California State University at Channel Islands.