The poems in Diorama with Fleeing Figures delicately point to devastating historical events. Instead of mounting judgments, the poems accrue power gently, even stealthily. Evoking a language at once lost, familiar, original, and dying, they balance fragments of culture, with a locus of Jewish Eastern Europe, against intimate imagery of the body-"the most confused part of the forest.
"'Scrimshaw,' the dictionary says, is the art of carving or incising intricate designs on whalebone. These poems are indeed intricate designs carved, or better, etched, if not on whalebone, then 'inside this wrist,' as Merle Lyn Bachman writes. This is lovely, tough, needed work. Her question -- 'Where is the location of desire?' A relentless investigation, at times celebratory, at times plangent, in tightly wound lyrical constructs that take nothing, neither themselves, nor the world for granted."
"The poems in Merle Bachman's Diorama with Fleeing Figures are intense, visceral and transformative. "We aren't meant to know so much of the world," yet the knowing in this poetry is exactly what each of us craves, the "translation not yet written" that leads us to both question and believe in the depth of human experience."