Thursday, March 29, 2012


Review of POETICA MAGAZINE, CONTEMPORARY JEWISH WRITING, SPRING 2012,, PO Box 11014, Norfolk, Virginia 23517, one-year subscription $19.50, Editor-in-Chief, Michal Mahgerefteh

Review by Barbara Bialick, author of TIME LEAVES

I just gave POETICA a great report on their Holocaust edition. But this issue is a little more elusive as it is a “general” issue filled with Jewish voices rising just above

stereotyped or “typical” to fresher modern wordplay, as in “A Supermarket Sonnet” by Ehud Sela:

“Today by the produce section/an old man sneezed a few times/...Disturbing infused sounds/From overhead speakers/And squeaking carts, rusting/at metal wheels, pushed/By elder Jewish women, crooked/By time-lost calcium,/And their sight/Glazed by a cataract’s veil…”

Also clothed in newer imagery is “Zachrenu L’Chaim (Remember Us Unto Life)” by Beth SK Morris:

“I still see him walking/in that pigeon-toed gait/the old sprinter with a high hurdler’s grace/ ‘Keep going’/…feel his strong hands/lifting me out of the dirt and glass/in an open field where I’d gone down/trying to ride my bike too fast/’Don’t Worry’/…but I can’t recall his voice--/his pitch his rate the pattern of his speech/Why are the other memories so clear when/the sound of his voice is just out of reach?/’Soon Enough’”

There are 41 poets represented in this issue as well as beautiful cover art depicting scenes from Israel in hues of turquoise, green and pink, “Dreams of Israel” by Melanie Lewis, that would make the curious reader want to grab a copy.

Meanwhile, bordering near “typical” yet with the twist of visiting New Jersey from out in Oregon, is “Challah in New Jersey” by Lois Rosen, which rises above the familiar east coast Jewish family dinner. “Yearly pilgrimage east from Oregon/to the old ways: Marian, the linear napkin/on her hair darker brown than the crust/…We slow down to savor the egginess, the hint/of honey that continues dissolving in your mouth…”

For anyone interested in reading a good literary journal with Jewish themes,

POETICA would make a good gift subscription.

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