Behold is Nicki Jackowska’s seventh book of poetry. The last decade has seen a marked change in position, language and sensibility. She is more daring in her juxtapositions, the creation of dimensions whereby one world seeps through another.
The title poem is the crown of this book’s achievement, where history (the Holocaust) is woven among precise particulars, the mundane detail. Together with her working-class English roots, this European consciousness creates an extraordinary spectrum of awareness and evocation. Many of the poems are akin to dramatic monologues, moving from a Lewes garden party to characters in a Brighton terrace and thence to Krak?w. Her work has been compared to the late W. G. Sebald. In a letter to Nicki, John Berger wrote, ‘Its grief has penetrated its syntax, and when there’s that kind of penetration – it changes the reader’s breathing.’