―Here is a ‗new‘ poet whose voice breaks through in late middle age, in poems deep with memory and wide with history and writerly skill. With as sure a hand in tragedy as in humor, Walter Hess retraces the polyglot paths of exile while examining an American present and interrogating, indeed creating, a future whose borders are elective to the open in mind and heart. - Marilyn Hacker More
Walter Hess‘s remarkable JEW’S HARP is a celebration of family, of tradition, of living through terrible and wonderful times, and even of memory itself. The obvious themes are love and survival. The controlled lyric and narrative voice of the poems is that of a son, and grandson, speaking about his father, mother, wife, children and grandchildren; they speak of the agony of loss and the joy of retrieval; they speak of journeys, from Hitler‘s Germany, to Ecuador, to safety in America, and a new life. These are poems of an open spirit toward God and His people. These poems create the feel of ritual, a distancing that the depth of his subject and emotion evoke.