Jazz Tal­mud: Poems

  • Review
By – November 20, 2012

Jazz is a form of music marked by free, excit­ing, soul-felt rhythm and sound. Per­haps it’s hard to con­ceive of the Tal­mud cou­pled with jazz, yet Marmer accom­plish­es this union, and very well indeed. So in Jazz Golem” the golem in Brook­lyn plays the clar­inet, “…screamed out the whole Tal­mud, Jerusalem to Babylon/​so fast so fast it blurred all let­ters all laws into a sin­gle musi­cal string/​blew Tal­mu­dic shapes into bub­bling mad­den­ing speedy shapes/​of pure music…” Feel the joy in Soul Shake­down” in which we are told by rab­bis that babies learn the Tal­mud but for­get it upon birth, “…But the way our 2 month old/​goes from apoc­a­lyp­tic bawling/​to hap­py smiles when/​I put Bob Mar­ley and the Wail­ers on/​I think maybe/​while study­ing Talmud/​with angel­ic Vac­u­um Clean­er he was also/​bopping in his pri­vate soul shakedown…heart thump­ing liq­ue­fied bass/​rhythm gui­tar chirp­ing like spirit’s matchstick/​at the spin­ning wheel of eter­ni­ty.” To say more would spoil the gems in this col­lec­tion, com­posed with musi­cal­ly thrilling dic­tion and style. You will hear the music in the vers­es and be moved in more ways than could be imagined.

Read Jake Marmer’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Poem as a Noisy Mediter­ranean Duplex

Poet­ry on Demand

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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