In This House

Howard Alt­mann
  • Review
By – November 1, 2011
Howard Alt­mann writes an amal­ga­ma­tion of poems, blend­ing mus­ings on rela­tion­ships, lone­li­ness, nature, aging, time, and faith. He is strongest when writ­ing about rela­tion­ships: reserved, del­i­cate, implied, lyri­cal, and beau­ti­ful. Some of his poems, while full of clear images, take work to dis­cern, and occa­sion­al­ly his poet­ry feels con­trived and stiff. Yet oth­er poems, such as Shoes,” a work about view­ing an exhib­it of rem­nants of the Holo­caust with his father, walk hand in hand with the read­er through unfold­ing open­ness and great ten­der­ness. 

Howard Alt­mann writes, for the most part, in the third per­son and some­times the impact of his per­spec­tive caus­es a sense of dis­tance. There is often a sur­prise end­ing that turns the mean­ing of his poems in sat­is­fy­ing ways. When the writer allows him­self to come clos­er to his sub­ject mat­ter emo­tion­al­ly, with sen­si­tiv­i­ty and rich­ly-wrought images, his poet­ry holds strength and beauty.

Ellie Bar­barash is a writer, musi­cian, and dis­abil­i­ty activist liv­ing in Philadel­phia. Her non-fic­tion has been pub­lished in Bridges. Ordained as a Kohenet, she is work­ing on pro­duc­ing an anthol­o­gy, Clear­ing the Spring, Sweet­en­ing the Waters: A Renewed Call to Torah.

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