Stone. Bread. Salt.

Norbert Hirschhorn

£8.00

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Holland Park Press
26 April 2018
ISBN: 9781907320767
Paperback

From the publisher

In this very personal collection of poems Norbert Hirschhorn takes stock of his life and gives voice to his quest to pass on the experiences of the generations before him. Or in the author's own words: `Over the past decades I have lived and worked in the Middle East, coming to a greater understanding not only of Judaism, but also the other Abrahamic religions. As I approach my ninth decade of life I am aware of the need to share with my descendants the wisdom, texts and lessons handed down by our ancestors of all religions. The poems in this collection reflect this aim and necessity.' As the title suggest Stone. Bread. Salt. combines seriousness with playfulness. In the opening poem, Three Score and Ten, the author takes a serious look at his life whereas in Life-Course Department Store he measures out a life in department store goods. Norbert Hirschhorn experiments with rhyme and metre, free verse and prose poems, yet they all are in his inimitable voice, and together they tell a story. In some lines the echoes from the past are eerily relevant for present-day life: Don't ask your friends what their leanings are: stir up trouble, you'll be blamed. You cannot, must not, push your friends too far, or they'll make you wear the yellow star. What makes this collection extra special is Norbert Hirschhorn's work on translating some Fouad M Fouad's poems from the Arabic. Working closely with the author, a medical professor, poet and Syrian refugee this resulted in three remarkable poems: Killers Live Long, After the Barrel Bomb and Canon Lens 18-300. This collection sweeps you along from London to New York and the Middle East and back again. At some points Hirschhorn almost literally stops readers in their tracks by using the + sign. On BBC website black cloud icons every day for the next five + counting In Hawaii sunny 68 DegreesF + the surf is up Midnight here a dirty mist descending 1 DegreesC even birds are coughing My winter bronchitis has returned + I was escorted from a British Library reading room when people complained Each poem can be savoured on its own but together they paint a picture of a thoughtful poet and American Health Hero (to quote Bill Clinton) trying to catch the essence of life to hand it down to the next generations.