My latest New Favorite Poet, Jessica Greenbaum (and a brief apology! :)

Hello Fellow Bloggers and Devoted Followers!

First let me say sorry for taking so long to post! I know it’s been SEVERAL weeks since I have posted any work or a “New Weekly Favorite Poet” (which is an oxymoron in and of itself considering I am supposed to do it WEEKLY, which I will definitely remedy in the coming weeks! :))

This week’s new favorite poet came to me via the July/August issue of Poetry magazine with her marvelously ingenious and affecting poem,

“A Poem for S.”

Because you used to leaf through the dictionary,
Casually, as someone might in a barber shop, and
Devotedly, as someone might in a sanctuary,
Each letter would still have your attention if not
For the responsibilities life has tightly fit, like
Gears around the cog of you, like so many petals
Hinged on a daisy. That’s why I’ll just use your
Initial. Do you know that in one treasured story, a
Jewish ancestor, horseback in the woods at Yom
Kippur, and stranded without a prayer book,
Looked into the darkness and realized he had
Merely to name the alphabet to ask forgiveness—
No congregation of figures needed, he could speak
One letter at a time because all of creation
Proceeded from those. He fed his horse, and then
Quietly, because it was from his heart, he
Recited them slowly, from aleph to tav. Within those
Sounds, all others were born, all manner of
Trials, actions, emotions, everything needed to
Understand who he was, had been, how flaws
Venerate the human being, how aspirations return
Without spite. Now for you, may your wife’s
X-ray return with good news, may we raise our
Zarfs to both your names in the Great Book of Life.

© Jessica Greenbaum

See if you notice what she is doing with her structure / form as well as subject matter
and tone (Let me know in the comments!!). It’s really cool, almost like a puzzle, or a crossword.

Read her bio and other poems at the Poetry Foundation’s website by clicking her name below:
Jessica Greenbaum

Here are a few of her other poems at the site of the The Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize from Way Wiser Press, which she won in 2007.

;oD

Jamy

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