My new collection of poetry, Waiting for Word, from Finishing Line Press. Preorder now for publication March 2021.
What writers are saying:
“To be becoming. Then to be.” That is the dreamed-for passage of the poet — from “waiting for word” to delivering it, through the time and space of memory, into “unshadowed” light. In his cohesive collection of poems Waiting for Word, A. Jay Adler explores the terrain of creation, where age and loss and distance from “the wildness of [youthful] dreams” necessarily re-centers the poet’s attention on the thing still to be done and what it means. Adler’s is a terrain made rough with fear of repetition and blank-page silence yet till-able with the re-assertion of voice when least expected, when “some smith of hidden craft” dares “crack a word against an empty instant” and “word the world” so that his “great and meager / presents Shine”. In beautifully sustained metaphors of a writing life, Adler shows us “not the thing, / but the making out of it” — the “inconceivable conception” of art.
–Maureen Doallas, author, Neruda’s Memoirs
The word yearning comes to mind when reading A. Jay Adler’s delectable collection of poems, Waiting for Word. Whether it’s the first poem that births the collection—“…so Hold me Hear / me not Cry in silence… With these great and meager presents Shine” – or the final stanza of the final poem’s observation about “the slow sudden passage of things / that never were yours, nor time nor space,” we are invited to at once check our yearning and revel in it. Hints of modernist liminality take us through the collection, with the simultaneously tragic and cosmically silly meditation of “If I Were You,” on never fully being able to know what it is to be someone else, to the subjectivity of the poem “Infinite Nocturne,” which journeys through familial connectedness and ends on a cliff: “… the stars: how they are the same stars: which lives: / in the night: in the deep: endless loop: music from: hearts of.” This lover of words, epitomized in the Joycean wordplay in “The Words,” reassures us that to live is to yearn. If desire is the root of human suffering, in Adler’s hands we discover that our suffering is not in vain.
–Carol Rial, writer and professor of English
Jay Adler’s “Waiting for Word” is a confident, sure-footed collection rooted deeply in the love of language, and where it can take us. Though its heart lies in New York–“the city, a time, our young lives on fire” (“Full Flush””)–it ranges through Latin America, and upward into a planetary scope.
At times Adler’s poems move as a “mill-winding motion / foot-flapped propulsion / over the calm plane provide / sheer glide” (“Backstroke”) and elsewhere “measuring the progress / of Venus against the millipede’s march” (“Myth”). Adler spans the timeline of memory, an earned, wistful intimacy with the twentieth century’s passing that also acknowledges its weights–of brutal colonialism, great philosophers, and the struggle of our fore-bearers.
These poems gather up high and low thoughts, delivered richly with music, and ever conscious of their transience, for “we cannot know the end of what we do, / though what we do will end.” (“Impolitic Manifesto”) Here is a book to learn from, rich with subtle meaning, ready to challenge and impress.
–Robert Peake, author, Cyclone, The Knowledge, and The Silence TeacherFollow Me