The ProsenPeople

JBC Bookshelf: Poetry Edition

Thursday, February 03, 2011 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Poetry collections from Canada, New Jersey, Russia (via NY), New Hampshire, and the Bay Area…

Singing Me Home, Carol Lipszyc (October 2010, Inanna Publications)

from “Hebrew School”, p. 5

We chase pin-point dots
up, down and around
the topography of black, square script.

“Follow the Ni-kku-dot, children,
marry vowels to the consonants,
and sound the words out. . . .”

God’s Optimism, Yehoshua November (November 2010, Main Street Rag)

“How a Place Becomes Holy”, p.25

Sometimes a man
will start crying in the middle of the street,
without knowing why or for whom.
It is as thought someone else is standing there,
holding his briefcase, wearing hist coat.

And from beneath the rust of years,
come to his tongue the words of his childhood:
“I’m sorry,” and “god,” and “Do not be far from me.”

And just as suddenly the tears are gone,
and the man walks back into his life,
and the place where he cried becomes holy.

Russian for Lovers, Marina Blitshteyn (February 2011, Argos Books)

“Э”, p. 34

“what can you tell me about the jewish question?”
“do you miss the land or the language the most?”
“whose story are you speaking now?”
“do you know anyone with a soviet fetish?”
“how many friends did you leave there?”
“when did you become a citizen?”
“where is your accent?”
“why did you come?”

Working in Flour, Jeff Friedman (January 2011, Carnegie Mellon University Press)

from “I Did It”, p. 13

I took all the free samples
at the chocolate shop
even though the lady
behind the counter frowned
after my first handful
and tried to wrest
the basket from my grip. I walked out
without buying a single chocolate,
though I had sat there for hours
sipping hot water through a straw.
I know what you think: I give Jews
a bad name, even though I’m small
and furry like a nice pet,
except for the hackles
and jagged teeth,
which sometimes wound my lips.

Chapter & Verse: Poems of Jewish Identity, Dan Belm, Rose Black, Chana Bloch, Rafaella Del Bourgo, Margaret Kaufman, Jacqueline Kudler, Melanie Maier, Murray Silverstein, Susan Terris, Sim Warkov (January 2011, Conflux Press)

Sim Warkov’s “Sabbath at Starbucks in Los Gatos”, p. 23

. . . and lanky fillies in low-slung jeans
swish by my table
Asian tattoos two inches above the cleft
abs taut as all hell–
and I rally to their full-frontal views
and I’m in awe of these fragrant pagans
flaunting their youth arm’s length
from small-town Daddy Mommy
Father Joe and Sister Teresa
and I jazz the secular English
at the very hour my grandfather
the Zaydeh would be studying
a page of Talmud in Hebraic Aramaic
at a shul near Burrows Avenue
when I was a kid in corduroy britches.