“THE VAST UNKNOWING collects a wide spectrum of poetry from Nancy Shiffrin...One of her main questions is Who are we? What made us that person? She explores a number of sources of our identity....The poem, 'My Shoah' brings together many of her disparate threads—family, religion, evil, details from her personal history—and makes them work together. When she is at her best, as in this poem, Shiffrin produces deep powerful poetry”.
-G. Murray Thomas, poetix.net
“Buckle up. Hold tight! THE VAST UNKNOWING is like riding the roller coaster. It will plunge you into despair, exhilarate you, shake you to the depths of your being, terrify you, elate, disturb. And leave you weak-kneed, dizzy and delighted that you saw it through to a safe landing. A ride not to be missed. ... words as weapons, words as balm, sometimes words that puzzle, words that arouse...In her poem, 'At the Writers' Retreat', Shiffrin quotes Anais Nin, 'There are no writer's blocks, only secrets we are afraid of telling.' Nancy Shiffrin isn't afraid. And no one will remain indifferent to the virtuoso power with which she reveals her secrets”.
-Ricky Rapoport Friesem, Poetica Magazine
“Nancy Shiffrin's new book of poetry, THE VAST UNKNOWING, rekindled my fascination with Anais Nin.... Both writers explore personal relationships, the chaos of inner struggle, the beauty of nature, and sense awareness. The section on Fairy Tales calls to mind Nin's fascination with dreams and her continuous probing of the creative spirit...There is a frankness in Shiffrin's work that matches Nin's journals, and a similar autobiographical tone”. Karen Kane, Paris by Design.
“'September, 2001' (published here as 'Lamentation') touches us by conveying vividly not only the horror of the victims' ordeal but also the humanity of the perpetrators.”
-Liz Zelvin, AOL Social Work Forum Newsletter
“Nancy Shiffrin’s poems convey a social consciousness that is often lacking in literature today. I love the way they speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves.”
Dianna Henning, MFA, Lassen County Arts Council
“Eroticism is one of the basic means of self-knowledge, as indispensable as poetry…”
-Anais Nin In Favor of the Sensitive Man
About Nancy Shiffrin’s poetry
“There is a Mexican saying, 'De medico, poeta y loco/ todos tenemos un poco (We all have a bit of doctor, poet and madman – or woman-- in us)'. Nancy Shiffrin takes all three roles...She stirs us with powerful sounds and images...She is a master of detail.“
-Barbara Lombardo, On The Bus
“Many of these poems are marvelous! There is the clear sense of the completely liberated woman…The poet cares that we like her poems, but she won’t stop writing if we don’t.”
-Leo Connellan, Small Press Review
“Nancy Shiffrin’s poetry is to cherish for richness of emotions and vividness of metaphor. She confronts the body frankly, patriarchal repression with rightful anger…”
-Natania Rosenfeld, Shofar
“Nancy Shiffrin's poems are gut-land responses to a personal life of risks, frustrations, and celebrations. Her writing is lean, sensitive, erotic. She celebrates the female body with a rare vigor.”