Is Pleased to Announce
“The Ghost of My Father Remembers Himself
Playing the ‘Moonshine’ Sonata”
Synkroniciti is thrilled to announce the winner of our “Space” poetry contest, Naomi Ruth Lowinsky’s “The Ghost of My Father Remembers Himself Playing the ‘Moonshine’ Sonata.” Much of the poetry we received for the “Space” issue was outstanding, but this poem stole our hearts and brought us to tears. Naomi’s father grew up Jewish in early 20th century Germany and was a great believer in the European musical tradition, a student of the musicologist Besseler, who studied with the esteemed philosopher Heidegger. As the second World War began to brew in Germany, he found himself not only homeless and stateless, but a cultural orphan, disowned by the institutions he respected and cherished. Immigrating to America greatly disillusioned with culture, institutions, and God, he found community in the American South and began to reconstruct his life through the redeeming power of music. Announcing the sorrowful “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven, which he translated as the “Moonshine Sonata,” he was momentarily baffled that the southern audience laughed, but played anyway. “In America I learn Moonshine will get you drunk.” Naomi’s command of language, her rich imagery, and her use of visual spacing as a tool to slow and control narrative rhythm are finely honed and the effect is breathtaking, rich in empathy, vulnerability and drama. The poem is in three parts, three episodes from her father’s life, presented out of chronological order. The second and third sections take the visual form of waves, recalling both the undulations of the river Neckar and the broken accompaniment of Beethoven’s most famous sonata.