|Riding the Eighteen
Few words. I'd like to think it's because it's 6:30
on Tuesday morning and no one yet remembers
how to speak. But we know what's at stake.
We've scanned the faces climbing the stairs,
checked for jewelry, pursed lips,
something to reassure. The new bus
has improved air conditioning, bright flyers on the walls.
It's cool inside, despite the closeness of bodies:
shaved neck, crooked kipah, the bulge of a woman's
back above her bra. As we roll towards Talpiyyot,
the crowd thins out. A metal statue of two goats
like a weathervane always facing east.
Two synagogues on one triangular lot.
On descent, there's a release,
but also something like disappointment:
giving up the post, once again no part of history.
The bus pulls off with its rank exhaust
trailing it like a memory of violence.
“Hatched in the lyric tradition, Adam Sol's voice is clear and singular, whether its
mood is funny, astonished, or appalled. Though centered mostly in the
Jewish-American experience, these poems reach us all, indeed reach for us all.
Speaking of the common grackle in one of them, he says, ‘They find nourishment
everywhere.’ Sol's uncommon and uncommonly good poems do likewise. We are lucky
to have them.”—Roger Mitchell
“Jonah's Promise is a bold first book. Adam Sol takes on big issues—of family, of history, of
God—with a voice at once muscular and deft. Alive with detail and sharp in
awareness, this book defines a world and lays claim to it.”—Don Bogen
“For all their wise-ass charm, the stance of these poems is ultimately one of awe.
Few young poets possess the verve of Adam Sol—and fewer still his sly
“The experiences Sol writes about are, for the most part, one with which we can
identify; and even when they are personal, they are enjoyable and
thought-provoking.”—National Post and Opinion
“Sol reveals himself to be an accomplished raconteur.”—The Independent Weekly
“[Sol’s] poems hum with vitality.”—The Jewish Week
“Every line seems original and behind every line is an original voice that is both
direct and hidden, reverent and smart aleck, large and small. Sol knows his
craft and his subject. His voice is clear and distinct. I am going to be
looking for more Adam Sol. This book is not only impressive … it's memorable.”—The
“It was with great pleasure and gratitude that I read poem after poem of Adam Sol's
collection, Jonah's Promise. These are important poems, located in time
and place, offering both the pleasure of dynamic language and the surprising
leaps for which one turns to poetry. Sol’s light touch and wry tone move his
poems along at a brisk pace. It is his great talent to bring events vividly to
life in a few deft lines. Sol’s poems have an intensity that only great poets
offer. An elegant collection [that] offers many rewards.”—The Antigonish