Poetry

Catullus Cover

Winner of the 2016 Poetry Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature.

“Enjoyable, readable, fresh.” – The Jury

In 1968 Isaac Bashevis Singer was asked by The Paris Review what he thought about the future of the novel. He was optimistic. But he did concede that poetry was in trouble. He actually went so far as to say that in the twentieth century poetry “became bad.” In his view poetry became bad because poets stopped caring whether their work was interesting or even possible to be understood.

Catullus’s Soldiers, my first collection of poems, was released by Cormorant Books in 2015. You’ll have to judge for yourself, but with the poems in the collection I’ve tried my best to be understood at least and, wherever possible, interesting…

Here’s the poem that inspired the collection’s title:

CATULLUS IN A MARTIAL MOMENT

 

Caesar has his legions

to move this way and that,

to cross the Rubicon or not,

 

to live and die at his imperious word.

For this Caesar shall be remembered

when he is gone.

 

But my army is greater in number,

and of infinite formation.

I tell them when to come and when to go.

 

They march to a cadence of my choosing,

across the page like a wave of soldier ants

and set up camp in the country of a foreign mind.

 

When all of Caesar’s soldiers have fallen

and lie mingled with the marble ruins of his desires,

or are pensioned off to farms of forgetfulness,

 

when his colonies have rebelled or been conquered

by barbarians whose time has come

and no more tribute is forthcoming,

 

my soldiers will still be winning over

a different people in a world

I cannot even begin to imagine.

 

One of my recent poems, “Moving Through Rooms in the British Museum”, was just published by The Ekphrastic Review, a journal devoted to poems about works of art. You can read it here.

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