Hoda’s North End Poems
By: Ruth Panofsky
This compassionate and humanizing work imagines the interior life of Hoda, the protagonist of Adele Wiseman’s 1974 novel Crackpot, an obese Jewish sex worker who services the boys and men of North End Winnipeg during the first half of the twentieth century. In Radiant Shards, Hoda reflects personally and knowingly on the experiences of her complicated life. Against the structural arc of novelistic events that shape her worldview, she reveals the depths of her suffering and the triumph of her will from a poetically imagined position of maturity and self-awareness. This creative project also incorporates historical photographs housed in the Archives of Manitoba and the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada. These images ground the lyric presentation of Hoda and deepen the resonant voice of a character that originally was modelled on an actual North End resident.
Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Research Award
“Lewd, you say?” The questioning voice of Hoda from Adele Wiseman’s Crackpot is at the centre of Radiant Shards: Hoda’s North End Poems. Kosher butchers, the Prince of Wales, and North End daily life resonate anew in Panofsky’s provocative re-imagining of Wiseman’s Winnipeg.
Norman Ravvin, author of The Girl Who Stole Everything
In this poem, two voices frame, overlap, embellish, and question one another.
Laike’s voice and Nahum’s voice are heard in counterpoint across a poem that probes the hold of culture, tradition, and gender expectations...