Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hidden & Revealed

What critics have said about "Hidden & Revealed":

"These are wonderful poems, at times refreshingly cynical, always deeply gripping." Dr Ute Ben Yosef, Jacob Gitlin Library


"Immanuel Suttner's poetry is beautiful and extraordinarily and unexpectedly moving. It is also witty and what some would call 'spiritual'. But what moves me most is this: Some poetry misleads readers because it seems so simple. Readers should be cautioned. This kind of poetry is 'simple'. But it is not the simplicity of shallowness: it is the lucidity of a very deep pool. "
Jeremy Gordin, Sunday Independent


"Suttner's imagery returns repeatedly to the artefacts of faith lost - and faith found....and assumes a poignancy reminiscent of Amichai" Gwen Podbrey, Jewish Report


"In his poetry, Immanuel Suttner has a gift for communicating paradox, often through poems that are disarmingly simple, but always with a sting in the punchline. "Punchline" here is apt, for Suttner likens some of what he writes to a good joke, saying that when the poetry works, it has a climax that is fresh and surprising - but also familiar, almost intimate, able to worm its way under one's skin." (Victor Dlamini, Book SA) http://victordlamini.book.co.za/blog/2008/01/07/podcast-the-disarming-irony-of-poet-immanuel-suttner/


"Immanuel Suttner puts me in mind of Billy Collins, a poet of apparently haphazard and informal speech. Collins is perhaps one of the most enjoyable, and enjoyed, poets writing in the world today, for the reason that he is both modest and accessible. Suttner, too, is of this poetic ilk. Still, under the flippancy and lightness of tone there is something profound and dark.The strongest poems in his volume Hidden and Revealed (Snailpress/QuartzPress), such as Ma (Carpe diem, 15th September 1953) and Jerusalem, offer moments of humour and levity, but the weight of the poems rests in their crevices; the darkness spoken and the even darker unsaid. Jerusalem is one of the finest poems I've read in a long time. Suttner, a Jew, speaks to me, a Muslim, about beauty, atrocity and ambivalence in a way that bridges gaps, despite our differing political affiliations: The book is a joy to read (though Suttner's and my politics differ, an overriding sense of compassion is what I have retained from my readings of the volume) and the poems are fresh, vital, wholly without dullness and pedantry, as one can expect from books produced by publisher Gus Ferguson.Fiona Zerbst, Sunday Independent, http://www.sundayindependent.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4294356

Nonetheless, many contemporary poets, both white and black, have sought to explore new and interstitial spaces of identity, and express experiences more hybrid than has traditionally been allowed for. Goodenough Mashego, for instance, sees the challenge for South African poets as finding ways “to position themselves to a point where they cannot be black/white/coloured or Indian but poets.”[45] The result has been, at best, poetry of a rich complexity. One of the most delightful examples is Johannesburg poet Immanuel Suttner’s appropriation of rastafarian discourse to comment on his white, Jewish roots: Kelwyn Sole, Mediations http://www.mediationsjournal.org/articles/licking-the-stage-or-hauling-down-the-sky

Um yisrael wen ‘cross to babylon
started callin hisself irwin cohn
writin for de newspaper in washinton
bin nice n pleasant to everyone

or got hasidic in ol new york
bowin to de hot air in de rebbe’s talk
dancin to de beet of de fals messiah stalk
dey say he gonna come if we stay away from pork

me i say me eyes is full o sand
i gotta smash de idols bilt by de fader’s hand
like trotsky done or like avram’s stand
and bild mehself meh own promise land

(“De terach hammer”)

_______________

Hidden and Revealed was published by Quartz Press in conjunction with Snail Press. In Australia copies are available from Berkelouw Books, from Lindfield Bookshop, and from Books and Beyond (RRP $15).

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