Florence Weinberger

Florence Weinberger was born in Manhattan, raised in the Bronx, educated at Hunter College, California State University, Northridge, and UCLA, and has worked as a teacher, legal investigator, and consumer advocate, and a volunteer for the Shanti Foundation. She began to write poetry before she read poetry, and dabbled in other exotic forms of expression: a Halloween play in fourth grade; a novel in seventh grade, never finished; an essay on how to defuse an incendiary bomb. She published several short stories and produced two adult novels, unpublished, but it was in poetry where she found an art that challenged and satisfied. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. She is the author of two books of poetry, The Invisible Telling Its Shape (Fithian 1997) and Breathing Like a Jew (Crimson Edge 1997).

As a first generation American, Weinberger understood the immigrant experience, and still in her teens, befriended Holocaust survivors, close relatives among them, who made their way to America in the late forties and early fifties. She met Ted Weinberger, a survivor of forced labor and concentration camps, and they married in 1955. In love with his work, grateful for a second chance at life, for family and friends and good health, Ted was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in 1998, as he and Weinberger were about to leave for a vacation in Italy. The two-year battle with cancer had begun.

Poets are doctors and insurance salespeople and caregivers, and always they walk a narrow road, seeking balance between the private life and its transmutation into truth and art. As wife and caregiver, Weinberger continued to write. With cancer so prevalent, the personal had become ordinary, fear and hope and grief everyday experiences. In her poetry, Weinberger gave voice to her strange/common new life with all the truth and depth she could muster. Carnal Fragrance moves across that vast landscape of disbelief, despair, mordant humor, hope, and resignation, and finally, acceptance.

All Books

Carnal Fragrance

Florence Weinberger

Publication Date: October 1, 2004

$12.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 1-888996-95-1


“The poems in Carnal Fragrance are straightforward dispatches from the land of grief and mourning. Observant, controlled, and rich with feelings, these poems take note of the surprising moments, small ironies, odd sensations and quotidian realities of survivorhood. They examine what happens when a loved one dies and you must live on without them, aching to find ways to continue in their absence, surrounded by their lingering presence and yet utterly bereft. Ovid said, “Songs have immunity from death.” Poems like these, which deal with loss in such a clear eyes way remind us that Ovid was right.”—Amy Gerstler

“As unfashionable as it may be in some quarters to talk about Voice and Subject in poetry, Florence Weinberger’s new collection, Carnal Fragrance, is remarkable for these essentials. While the surfaces of these poems are sharp, original and closely observed, it is the subject of mortality–the specific death of her husband, the death we all come to–that provides their weight and resonance. The historical and quotidian blend to offer an examination of life that bears brilliant witness to our desire and our loss. And the voice–authentic, compelling, and fresh.”—Christopher Buckley