University of Notre Dame Press / "Growing Up in Bergen-Belsen"

April 17th, 2017


Established in 1949, the University of Notre Dame Press is the largest Catholic university press in the world, and a scholarly publisher of distinguished books in a number of academic disciplines; in poetry and fiction; and in areas of interest to general readers. The Press publishes forty to fifty books annually and maintains a robust backlist in print. Its series in poetry include the Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry and the AndrĂ©s Montoya Poetry Prize. 

From "Growing Up in Bergen-Belsen" from I WIsh I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman by Jude Nutter (2009)

We invent ways to live with the body.
And then it is taken away. I grew terrified 
of touching the pictures of the sick and the dying
in National Geographics and Sunday supplements, 
washing my hands over and over, opening
doors with my elbows, or not at all.
It wasn't guilt: the guilt of children is local--shame
over someone else's Cat's-Eye or an Aggie 
dropped into a pocket as it dribbled out of bounds; 
an apple lobbed on a dare
through the school bus window;
the countless insects starved by mistake,
year after year, locked in jars
with parts of the green world they could not eat.