A Mayse-Bikhl by Sonya Taaffe came to Papaveria as an unexpected surprise, and I’m so glad it did. This is a collection of 20 poems, published as a special edition chapbook by Papaveria Press. The introduction, by Jeannelle M. Ferreira, says it all.
“Here are almost a decade’s worth of poems, curated by the author and Rose Lemberg. They tap an abiding cultural well; they are folk tales, mermaid-mayses, they are the richly hued wares of those who have traded in small, bright, enduring objects for a thousand years. Ms. Taaffe knows how to please the reading eye and linger in the senses, to charm by a sound, to sketch an inheritance with ash and fire and with sweetness. By turns intimate, elegiac, singing, and seeking, these poems are full of truth. They are deeply and completely Jewish poems, though to say that is to reach above one’s height for the emet written in the clay. Perhaps all Jewish texts look backward, inward, into dreams and the dark: better the wolf you know. These are poems for those who have known the wolf. Memory, wire-sharp and gallows-cold, is here, and the last notes of songs the whole world has forgotten. Orpheus is here too, Amazons, tzaddikim, dybbukim, small gods, and tummlers; the weighted grey of the diaspora; the warm golden stones of Jerusalem. It is all yours for the taking.”
— Jeannelle M. Ferreira
Many thanks to Rose Lemberg, who helped me with a lot more than curation, and to Jeanelle for finding the words when I could not.