JOB DESCRIPTION: POET
Isn’t it my job to loaf and lean at the table,
to nap at inconvenient hours?
Aren’t I getting paid to speak
inappropriately, to remain silent
when pressed, to avoid meetings?
Would you rather me be punctual?
When the snow arrives, I’m paid
to stick out my tongue. When
the light bulb shatters, my task
is to describe the dark. Don’t expect me
to always return to the same chair
like a dog to the same tin bowl
in the corner of the kennel. I sleep
when others are awake, am awake
when others sleep. Hunger
is the most important ingredient
in my diet. When you point
to a plane, I’m staring at the moon.
When you point to the moon,
I’m digging the earth with my teeth.
I’ll sign your petition with my epic.
Don’t follow me unless you want
to go somewhere else. Don’t
be surprised if I respond
to your chastisement
with an embrace. Or if I claim
paradise from my dung heap.
Or if I continue to talk long after
the wind has spoken its last elegy.
Welcome to Philip Terman's website. Feel free to scroll around, read some poems, view some videos, click on a few links, and--order some books! And--of course, any feedback appreciated. More as inspiration reveals. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting.
Recent Cool Things:
The multi-media project, which I collaborated on with Dr. Scott Minar, was performed at Pittsburgh's City of Asylum on November 4, 2018.
Leaves from Aleppo is a multimedia piece that focuses on Philip Terman's and Scott Minar's correspondence with the writer and translator Saleh Razzouk during the siege of the city of Aleppo, which has been called “a small Holocaust,” during the Syrian Civil War, at which time an estimated 31,000 people died, 13.5 million people required humanitarian assistance and many hundreds of people missing, including Saleh’s son. The piece interweaves emails (recorded by Dr. Razzouk) with videos, photographs, poetry, and music, presenting eye-witness, real-time accounts of how one human being attempts to survive and make sense of his conditions while experiencing the horrors of war. As fellow writers, Dr. Minar and Terman explore the connections between them and Saleh and how writing and art transcends borders.
Here is a youtube version of the performance:
Publication of collaborative book The Four Seasons. A segmented poem. Beautiful drawings by James Stewart, hand-sewn by Susan Frakes.
My poem, "Walking to Jerusalem," appeared on The Writers' Alamanac on November 28, 2015: http://writersalmanac.org/episodes/20151128/
My poem, "Pinochle" appeared on The Writer's Almanac on September 18:
My poem, "Again, These Blintzes," appeared in Jewish Journal on Dec. 3, 2015: http://www.jewishjournal.com/tag/philip+terman
My poem, "The Summer You Read Proust" was recently read by Garrison Keillor on the Writers' Almanac:http://writersalmanac.org/episodes/20150617/
My poem, "Our Royalty," was featured on Poetry Daily: http://poems.com/poem.php?date=16380
Our Portion and the poem, "Walking to Jerusalem," was also recently featured on Poetry Daily: http://poems.com/feature.php?date=16619
Our Portion was reviewed by Grace Cavalieri on her "Poetry Exempler" for July: http://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/features/july-exemplars-poetry-reviews-by-grace-cavalieri2
My poem, "Teaching My Daughter the Mourner's Kaddish" was a finalist for the "Best of the Net" by Sundress Publications:
Hey friends----Terman at the AWP in Portland! Would love to see ya'
'll be on these two wonderful panels and off-sight reading with Tar River Poetry Thursday at 5--check out below! Plus--book signing at Autumn House Press Table on Sat., 10:30 and at the terrain.org table at 1.
Thursday, 9:00 am to 10:15 am
A103-104, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
R111. The Development of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry in the Last Five Years. (Matthew Silverman, Susan Cohen, Philip Terman, Patty Seyburn, Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet) Come join us for the five-year anniversary of an important anthology that explores the thoughts, concerns, and experiences of Jewish poets today. One of the editors and five contributors to The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry will read from their work and reflect upon how Jewish American poetry has changed in the last five years with the developments in politics and the rise of anti-Semitism while still exploring the heart of Jewish traditions that honor the human spirit.
Saturday, 9:00 am to 10:15 am
C125-126, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
S124. Wandering Jews Go West. (Phillip Terman, Roger Kamenetz, Robin Becker, Richard Chess, Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor) Jewish life in Oregon began with Goldsmith's general store in 1849. The gold rush brought many immigrants including German Jews west, living up to the "wandering " name. What do we do with this peripatetic honorific or insult? Like pickles, Jewish poets on this panel have picked up wandering world flavors and share poems from North, South, East, and West diasporic influences. These poems address what "home" means for poets on the move, inviting audiences to sit and listen before heading out of town
Sat.,10:30-11 Autumn House Press Booth 8088
Sat., 1:00-1:30: Terrain.com Table Booth 9029
And, I'll be participating in the Tar River Poetry off-sight reading on Thursday, March 28 at 5 PM at the cool Ringlers Pub....