Published in 2007, Scrutinizing Lines is Raphael Cohen’s first full-length poetry collection. A five-part text, encompassing work from the years 2001 to 2006, Scrutinizing Lines presents Raphael’s distinct blend of political analysis and personal interrogation, as articulated through verse both expansive and concise.
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Includes an audio CD of Raphael reciting 30 of the 50 poems in the book.

Whether dissecting contemporary manifestations of racial persecution, economic exploitation, or gender socialization, Raphael’s poems simultaneously expose the apparatus of social inequity and explore individual complicity with it. This theme carries over to his writings on Jewish culture and community, as he calls out the widespread conflation of Judaism with the ideology of Zionism, citing his own departure from the politics of his closest relatives as a means of encouraging Jews to challenge the state of Israel’s dominant narratives and confront its ongoing dislocation of Palestinian life.

Likewise a meditation on love and longing, Scrutinizing Lines also gives voice to the heart’s hopeful and hardened terrains, with portions of the book charting the trajectories of romantic relationships, from infatuation to separation and back again.

In all, Scrutinizing Lines marks Raphael’s emergence as a young writer avidly grappling with questions of identity, family, history, memory, oppression, privilege, and responsibility both personal and collective.

© 2009 Raphael Cohen
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