In Our Portion, Philip Terman... is mindful of the griefs of a fallen order...he keeps returning us to what redeems and nourishes, inviting us in poem after poem to marvel with him at “the spontaneous melody of the moment.” --Chana Bloch
This is a big-hearted, large-minded book, rich in its religious heritage yet wonderfully ironic, in its particulars, about those same compelling cultural connections. The flow of the writing, too, is thoroughly complete and poignantly alive in its follow-through, as if the poems were engaging the reader in real-life chat-narratives. Philip Terman’s Our Portion is a work of profound maturity, practical wisdom, and reconciliation with what is possible.
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In Terman's poetry, "the physicality of ritual opens into the realm of spirtually unspecified wonder. God may be absent....but the shofar is the funnel for a living moment to spring into being. The spine of the narratives is tight enough to hold them in hard focus." --The Jerusalem Post
"These poems enact a rich dialogue between a wished-for simmplicity and purity of a religious perspective with the mess and frustration of history. Open to facts of the world, they manage to maintain a lyrical intensity. This is an impressive achievement." --Carl Dennis
"The Torah Garden...confronts the horrors of history...but fights its way out of elegy towards a reaffirmation of the human..." --PN Review, England
"[Terman] teaches from a place of contentious dialogue with tradition, not from within that tradition. Unlike a traditional rabbi, a poet's teaching comes as much from separateness as from union. Terman...locates himself within a consummately Jewish world, yet does so in order to redefine it...what I find powerful in Terman's work is its individuality." --The Forward
"Personal experience acquires the monumentality of mythology.... Here is a resolution that shifts between history and modernity, between old and new conceptions of Judaism, binding the generations."
"There's sensual grace informing these poems--sensuous, loving, celebration of the ordinary human and natural miracles of existence."
"Terman is a fine cantor of the natural world.... These are wise worthwhile poems."
--Peter Makuck, The Laurel Review
"The speaker in this stellar first collection seems to carry himself without skin, absorbing the particulars of the human struggle in its many dogged and eloquent forms, and recording it with the capacious empathy of a saint or mystic."
--Leslie Ullman, Poetry Magazine