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Poet Kronenfeld Publishes "Ghost Nurseries"

UC Riverside Poet Evokes Missing Memories in “Ghost Nurseries”

Focus of Creative Writing Lecturer’s 3rd Collection is Alzheimer’s Disease

(July 11, 2005)

Judy KronenfeldEnlarge

Judy Kronenfeld

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Poet Judy Kronenfeld, a lecturer in UC Riverside’s Creative Writing program, has published a slim volume of poems that examines the emotional territory between living and dying.

“Ghost Nurseries,” part of the critically acclaimed Chapbook Series from Finishing Line Press, is Kronenfeld’s third collection of verse. Written over several years, the poems overlay childhood memories on the experience of watching her parents’ journey through forgetfulness to death.

Many of the poems are about Kronenfeld’s father, Samuel Zahler, who died in Riverside last spring after five or six years with Alzheimer’s disease.

“The process is debilitating for the person who is actually going through it, and also for the person watching it happen,” Kronenfeld said. “The poems are about what people go through -- some are sad, and there’s a bittersweet element, and there’s annoyance, too, about the things that are lost. There’s some humor in the poems. I put in things that I thought Dad would have laughed at.”

The chapbook’s title, Kronenfeld said, casts nursing homes as places where people wait to become something else, much as babies in their cribs slowly become children and then adults.

“It’s about the point in your life where you see your parents fade away, and you realize you’re up next,” she said.

In the poem “Even Long after Grief,” Kronenfeld addresses the stillness of that process in contrast with everyday life:

how busy
the living are,
waving from trains,
from airplane gates,
how busy the crows
on their flight paths, even
the dry pods of the leafless silk tree -- rubbing
shoulders, clicking hips, ticticticking
like schizophrenics -- and the long
fingers of the eucalyptus,
untangling the tresses
of air

Kronenfeld published a book of poetry, “Shadow of Wings,” in 1991, and a limited edition chapbook, “Disappeared down Dark Wells and Still Falling,” in 2000. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals. Her poetry has appeared online in such magazines as Poetry Midwest, Full Circle, The Third Muse, and 2River Review. She has published criticism and reviews on Renaissance subjects in many scholarly journals, and a book titled “Shakespeare, King Lear and the Naked Truth.”

“Ghost Nurseries” is available at the UCR Bookstore, on or through the publisher, Finishing Line Books, at PO Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324, or

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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