“once upon a twin: poems” by Raymond Luczak— Would It Have Been Different?

Luczak, Raymond. “once upon a twin: poems”, Galludet University Press, 2021.

Would It Have Been Different?

Amos Lassen

Growing up deaf in a hearing Catholic family of nine children, Raymond Luczak’s mother once shared conflicting stories about having had a miscarriage  either after or around the time he was conceived. Now he has written an elegy to his lost twin, this book asks wondering how different his life would have been had his twin survived.

Luczak takes us into his hopes for connection and belonging. He believes he has a twin even with the mystery around his mother’s pregnancy. He does not fit into hid family since he is deaf from a young age and was not allowed to use sign at home. He was sent out for speech lessons, and stayed with several different families. He is laughed at and bullied at school and finds that he is attracted to his own sex  and this was something his family could not and would not accept.  He felt that the only one who loved him was his grandmother who had a stroke and died.  He writes that twins have a deep bond yet his family created a toxic atmosphere for him and no one listened to him. His twin would have provided for his needs

I have always loved Luczak’s poetry and the fact that he goes into unconventional territory with this new collection makes him love it even more. We see that memory  and cannot always be trusted and that our visions of childhood change over time. Loneliness is emphasized as all of us seek connection at different times in our lives. Looking for a twin is looking for another self that mirrors who we are and it has continued throughout history and it metaphorical for how memory and reality come together. The poems become part of a method for searching for identity and while the idea of a twin is romantic, it is also present in our lives and part of who we are.

For me, reading poetry is an emotional experience and a way for me to look deeply within myself and introspect. I really found that here. The poems here are very real and relevant and as the poet here delves into his own personal memories so do I. Lyrical and beautiful writing emerges on every page and I am not likely to forget “Once Upon a Twin” anytime soon.