I’ve mentioned the poetry of Yehoshua November in blog posts before, generally within link roundups. But I’ve just had the chance to read November’s new collection, Two Worlds Exist. And even if I don’t feel equipped to write a full-fledged review of this (or, frankly, any other poetry book), I want to draw your attention to this beautiful volume. (Especially at the start of the #Readukkah celebration!)
These are poems about prayer, and marriage, and parenting (and parenting a child who has a disability). And loss. Some are spare; all are powerful.
Reading this collection–which I did in a single sitting–I was struck anew with the realization of how “diverse” Jewish literature is, not merely in comparison with writing that reflects other traditions and cultures, but also within itself. November’s Judaism is not quite the same as my Judaism, and so along with the proverbial and familiar “mirrors” that I discovered as I read there I also encountered, perhaps more importantly, many quietly dramatic “windows.”
Here are just a few places online where you can find a few of the poems that appear in this book:
- “Prayer,” in The New York Times Magazine
- “Conjoined Twins,” in Cider Press Review
- “A Young Mother Will Pause, Mid-Song,” in Seminary Ridge Review (link is to a PDF; you’ll need to scroll to page 107)
I don’t want to supply too many examples, because I want you to buy this book! (And then, please return and tell me what a smart recommendation this was! ;-))
Bonus: If you’re in the Teaneck, New Jersey, area, you can catch November in conversation with Sandee Brawarsky (the Jewish Week’s Culture Editor) on Sunday, December 11. Details here.