Shaelot-Questions By Carol Adler
Shaelot-Questions,by Carol Adler, is a collection of poems written over the span of five decades.
Most of the poems are sourced from Adler’s personal experiences.
“I cannot deny that “my Judaism” shaped me and is still as much a part of my creative life as on that day at age four when I managed to pry open one of the heavy wooden doors of the former Gibbs Street Temple B’rith Kodesh sanctuary in Rochester, New York,” writes Adler in the book’s lengthy introduction.
“As I peered into the dimness—as I gazed at the ornate, strange looking curtained “house” on the raised platform in front, something stirred deep inside that until that moment I knew nothing about.
“The feelings of awe and majesty that swept over me, penetrating every part of my being, have remained with me to this day.”
In Shaelot-Questions, Adler digs deep inside her own mind and heart and delivers, in the spirit of the Prophets of Israel, her own self-styled “Howl” directed toward Jews and and non-Jews alike.
Often described as a “Renanissance woman,“ Carol Adler is “… a rare breed of technician and artist with an uncanny ability to get inside a person’s thoughts and feelings.”
In one of her “Psalms” she asks: “So what if we really are nothing but/ whirling masses of/burning particles seen from/external heights of ourselves like/stars flashing in atmospheres beyond/our reckoning, in which we know we/exist only in the rarest moments of consciousness…?”
In the poem “Mezuzah,” Adler writes: “Trapped by birth or choice—/does anyone know who/ we really are when the/past is ripped up/all evidence gone/and no one to ask/but the ghost of our loins?” In the Jewish tradition of every question leading only to another one, even our existence is enigmatic.
Adler admits that her own Jewish beliefs and practices have gone through many transformations. “I now wear only one coat: my own skin,” she writes in the Foreword to Shaelot (Questions). In true Whitmanesque spirit: I celebrate all people for who they are and what they choose to believe.”
Carol Adler’s publications include three novels, four books of poetry, and well over 200 poems in literary journals; including most of the major Jewish magazines and newspapers that publish poetry. She has ghostwritten over 40 non-fiction and fiction works for a number of professionals in the education, health care and human potential industries.
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