All the Holes Line Up

Poems and Translations

by Zackary Sholem Berger


In stock

Advance Praise

“Spare and precise, Berger’s poems in All the Holes Line Up gaze unflinchingly at—but also celebrate—human imperfection in its many forms.  And what a delight that Berger also includes in this collection a handful of his resonant translations of some of the great Yiddish poets.”

—Yehoshua November, author of God’s Optimism and Two World Exist

“What a pleasure is Zackary Sholem Berger’s thoughtful (and terrifically titled) new book, All the Holes Line Up. A physician, it’s not surprising that he uses, with great precision, medical words like saccade and vermiform, words you’ll probably have to look up (I did) and that will trigger sensations you never had before: Wow! There’s more: the generosity of lines like ‘myths bloom among mistakes,’ the details about his adopted Baltimore, the fresh translations. Stretch out your hands and catch Zack Berger’s glorious kingdom.”

—Elinor Nauen, author if Now That I Know Where I’m Going

Praise for Zackary Sholem Berger's previous books

One Fish Two Fish in Yiddish (2008)

Berger’s translation  is funny and tight, his rhymes are as sweet as Seuss’s originals.”

—Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing, 2010)

Not In the Same Breath (2011)

“A varied, clever collection that works equally well for those poor souls who speak only English as it does for [Yiddish-speakers]”

—Josh Lambert (Tablet)

One of the Years Best Reads”


One Nation Taken Out Of Another (2014)

“The themes and the tone — whimsical, urgent, mystical, fond – are consistent throughout and display Berger’s talents as a poet, his sharp intellectual curiosity and his scholarly depth”

—Charles Rammelkamp (Chamber Four)

City, 3

Is the world collapsing?
Perhaps sing
A song about your nose
That sticks out and everyone knows.

Is the city dying?
Maybe try
Blowing up balloons and popping them.
Historicizing bullets to stop them.

Are you in need of love?
What’s the need you speak of?
Cactuses extend their arms.
Electrons’ negativity has charm.

Ten Commandments Are Not Enough

Six hundred thir
teen don’t even
the terrifying space
of choice.
We can always do
something else?
Help me, compromiser
keep my
inadequate choices
at bay
not whimpering on chains
not weeping in twilight
but crouching
for a morsel