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Short Fiction
Jonah's Promise
by Adam Sol

Price: $11.00
80 pages
trade paper
ISBN: 0922811474
LCCN #: 00-040209

Riding the Eighteen

-Jerusalem, 1996

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 integrity.”—David Wojahn

“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 Pilot

“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 Review


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