"Reading Merle Bachman's book length autobiographical sequence is like visiting a relative you haven't seen in a while, who you're only distantly related to anyway, and finding yourself sitting through several boxes of slides projected onto the living room wall, some of them not entirely in focus, and none of them in sequence. ... [T]here's a quirky sense of juxtaposition to three or four slides and suddenly what is intensely personal to one specific individual is tinged with the universality of human experience."
Neil Fulwood, Stride Magazine (UK)
“Merle Bachman’s Blood Party is a remarkable memoir, told in fragments, interruptions—in ways that prohibit any fixed retelling. In it, the impossibility of telling becomes the story: of ancestry, family, and a mother’s silence, pieced-together in a poetry that is always vibrating yet never arrives.”
“Poetry as memoir, as autobiography, as family history: Merle Bachman’s Blood Party is all this, but much more. The hybridity of Bachman’s writing also produces a time warp, opens up a temporal portal through which we may pass into the heart of mid-20th century Jewish American culture, as it seeks to assure itself of its newfound and still inchoate position in the larger American landscape. Looking through the eyes of ‘M,’ Bachman’s everygirl, we see the photos, the vignettes, the momentary gestures of a world constantly receding to an increasingly poignant horizon. Never sentimental, never anything but honest in its sympathy with the ﬂawed, ordinary lives of succeeding generations (including her own), Blood Party is written in ways that swoop and hover, expand and contract with each emotional nuance.”
“Memory has its own architecture, its own geography. Yet, as Merle Bachman demonstrates in Blood Party, these are mutable—stretching and contracting within the space of experience: straﬁng events to get at their illogic and
yet/memory, remaking. Bachman’s beautifully crafted, acutely sensitive poems adroitly combine history, autobiography, and lyric meditation. If space is ‘the externalization of what you really are,’ then Bachman risks sculpting space in a boldly disclosive and passionate way. This is a poetry that sends messages into the hidden sites of memory and returns with color, form, and commitment.”