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 April 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 a sample poem from the collection:

THE BUTTERFLY

The swimmers laugh and splash each other

in the clear shallows. Further out

men fish. In the shipping channel a freighter

slides by with surprising silence. The swimmers

soon feel the ripples. On shore a Monarch

butterfly lies flat on a stone. Its wings

do not look broken. Its body is intact.

It is still and looks asleep. I have never seen

a Monarch butterfly so still. I have never

really seen the patterns on its wings.

When I touch a wing it barely flutters

under my fingertips. The colours, gold,

black, amber, become clearer to me

as everything around it – swimmers,

river, freighter, sky – keeps moving. It looks

like an expensive hand-sewn silk scarf or tie,

or the Indonesian shirt my late father

bought once. Since it can no longer fly,

it lies in the sun and waits.

 

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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