A Jewish scholar, Admiel Kosman focuses his poetry on prayer, the Bible, the Talmud, and the Midrash but refuses to be stereotypically bound by the sacred. Instead he explores the secular as well, pondering erotic love, gender, and identity, yielding a new identity that actually deepens faith and patriotic expression. For example, in “A Poet,” Kosman writes, “…I have built a miniature Sodom,/on my bed, for experiments./I have built Gomorah./Use me please:/for a good deed or an infraction./Body of Israel!/Experiment on me.” What these verses elicit will be unique in each reader! Or in “I try to wake you in the dark,” “Can You hear my voice in the dark?…Can You see me?…Because all through the night/I have been throwing words at You,/expecting You./For no reason./From Mecca or Medina./Jerusalem or Hebron.” A beauty lies in these truth-seeking words, a prayer and yet not a prayer, “Orthodox me forth and/back. Orthodox me, just/around you…Oh my love,/Jeruzalem! Orthodox me!/Heavy load around my neck.” Fame and purpose are most essentially expressed when one assists one’s wife (it could be any member of one’s family) in laying a tablecloth or some other requested act. For Admiel Kosman, truth and faith must evolve in both traditional and revolutionary ways.
Approaching You in English
Deborah Schoeneman, is a former English teacher/Writing Across the Curriculum Center Coordinator at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and coeditor of Modern American Literature: A Library of Literary Criticism, Vol. VI, published in 1997.
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