The unswerving religious focus of emerging American poet Yossi Huttler, 45, will likely limit the audience for his debut book, “Lakol Z’man” (“A Time for Everything”) — and that’s a shame. In it, the author, who is pious in his Jewish practice, evokes piyyutim, Hebrew liturgical verse. But he also alludes to a more varied literary framework.
This week we’re pleased to feature a poem by Susan Comninos, “Rome Visits When I’m in the Bath.” The poem is a bit of a maze. On the surface there’s the juxtaposition of Jewish and Christian identities, but then more layers begin to emerge. Do the two identities refer to different modes of inspiration, to routes through which the free-associative mind travels? Or is it about the unavoidable assimilation and intrusion that comes as “dull” banging? Then again, contemplating the two religions, the author finds herself in the bath — a long-standing symbol of Roman wealth and leisure. The poem’s language is twisted and elusive but that, perhaps, is the point: The poet’s meanings cannot be, as it were, nailed down.