"This is a big-hearted, large-minded book, rich in its religioius 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 profoujnd maturity, practival wisdom, and reconciliaiton with what is possible."
In Our Portion, Philip Terman charts the seasons of a lifge in the garden--a life rooted in Jewish tradition and animated by love. Expansive, generous, he celebrates and sings the beauty of Creation, the lovers in one another's arms, the birds at their song. Though he 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 generous melody of the moment.'"
"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."
"Through his poetry, Terman is able to try on Judaism's mystical skin without actually having to wear it. But writing about it brings him close to its power," the reviewer wrote. "For him, like many others, Jewish consciousness takes the place of observance. It is the stubborn branch that refuses to leave its ancestral tree, easy as that might be in America."
The Jerusalem Post
Terman is a fine cantor of the natural world...his strength is litany and Whitmanian expansiveness...most narrative poems involve framing and croppng the past, but Terman comes back to the importance of time present--our only real paradise.
The Laurel Review
"The speaker in this stellar first
dollection 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
"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."
The Syrian writer and translator Saleh Razzouk was kind and generous to translate a selction of my poetry, My Dear Friend Kafka, published by Ninwa Press in Damascus, Syria.