Review of Michael Wasson’s SWALLOWED LIGHT, Copper Canyon Press, by Bruce Arlen Wasserman at NY Journal of Books

Just posted is my review of Michael Wason’s groundbreaking poetry collection, Swallowed Light, released by Copper Canyon Press (Twitter: @CopperCanyonPrs, Instagram: Copper_Canyon_Press) on May 10th, 2022. Through his poems, Wasson has unearthed the buried bones of generations and brought their lives into the daylight. This is the work of a poet, and the importance of such work can never be underestimated. Read HERE on the NY Journal of Books site.

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New Book Release

Finishing Line Press Publishes

The Broken Night Poetry Chapbook

I am pleased to announce my poetry chapbook, The Broken Night, will be released by Finishing Line Press July 15, 2022.

Read what reviewers have said:

“In The Broken Night Bruce Wasserman performs the poet’s task of breaking bread with the dead.  In the book’s elegant long poem, he traces his father’s life, from Abraham to Al, from anti-Semitism to dentistry on World War II’s front lines, then a full life back in mid-century America with all its pleasures and unrest.   Wasserman uses rich musical pacing to weave in different historical contexts, and thus creates for us a poem that is complex, beautiful and heartbreaking—as is this entire book. It celebrates and grieves, and makes space for the reader to experience mystery and awe. “When good luck comes, the poet’s grandmother says in Yiddish, “pull up a chair for it.”  This book is our good luck, so pull up a chair and read.”

–Betsy Sholl, author of House of SparrowsOtherwise UnseeableRough Cradle and Late Psalm

“Bruce Arlen Wasserman’s poems speculate into other times and other lives with sagacity and cleareyed…optimism, we’ll call it, though they recognize the difficulties and horrors, too. His is a hard-won faith earned in the trenches and on the fences, juxtaposing the bucolic and the pop cultural and the family historical toward beauty, reconciliation, and illumination.”

–Patrick Madden, Author of DisparatesSublime Physick and Quotidiana

Click here-

The Broken Night, by Bruce Arlen Wasserman

$14.99 per copy plus $3.49 each for shipping

Finishing Line Press, P.O. Box 1626

Georgetown, KY 40324

Bookstore Orders:

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“Clay,” “66,” and “How to Lose a Mother” published by Cathexis

I am happy to share that my poems, “Clay,” “66” and “How to Lose a Mother,” complete with their audio tracks, have been published by Cathexis Northwest Press in their December, 2020 issue. Click this link to access the print and audio tracks of the poems, or use the link below:


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My Book Review: Shrapnel Maps, on NYJB website

My review of Shrapnel Maps, by Philip Metres, is now available to read on the New York Journal of Books website. Read it here

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My Poem, “From Rechavia,” wins Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for 2019, 2nd Place

I am pleased to announce that my poem, “From Rechavia,” has won 2nd place in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for 2019. & here it is:

From Rechavia ©bruce arlen wasserman, no publication without author permission

There is a scent somewhere here between hay / & the must of pressed grapes & balsam / & the cats that shake themselves through the bins / & the moist of winter runoff & what passes for ice / in Jerusalem that erodes all 48 steps to my flat / & the one bold feral cat who sidled all the way / to the door before vanishing like a magician’s hat / & why are there no screens in Jerusalem & why / do the doors face walls of stone the same stone / that lines the streets & alleyways & the tiled / havens for dud shemesh tanks white as misfits / of clusters of footprints on the moon / there seems to be a pattern to the ups & the / downs of the hills & the streets climb to make / ancient off-angled passages to places like / the Kotel & the footfalls of the oldest alleys & / the pockmarks where they missed or hit in former wars / like the heart-rock I found near my grandfather’s grave / leaving time on my fingers & chalk as a remnant / like snail gloss these things say soul differently / than James Brown imagining low stone inscriptions / & there is more to give it all up for in the memories / of a child than the fan of palm leaves setting a border / for my garden & the kumquat & the tangerine trees / comparing tiny fruits & the way the lemon looks on / in the tartness of the breeze but the pomegranate sways / its seeds in an undertone like hot breath after a quickone / & these things I think took place upon the stones laid when / Rechavia was rural & bordered by farms & the monastery / where the Romans cut the cross & the slog of that walk that /must have been truly painful & why do fallen leaves never chase / the winds & why is dirt undisturbed as if sanctity is beyond / what’s already known & why is the doormat always backwards / as a tribute or a view to a future pretending to be past or / the list of the lost repeated in an ancient mother tongue? / I pay at the post office in a guttural I can barely comprehend / from the consonants in my throat & I realize I still can’t /say my name right & my immigrant state is more real than / the 5,779 ways to count the years to devolve from a snake / & all the incense burned in the desert made the air / a little sweeter & the day I arrived with three bags & / my guitar a stranger stopped to help me roll them up / the street then shook my hand & the sweetness of one / day’s travel ended like a blues riff & the lack of assurance / let my notes flow into the Jerusalem wind & the voices / inside the Souk are just enough to roll along the centuries of stones like the backs of rushing rivers / or the dates I bought that taste like caramel dipped / in honey then burned & the hummus like an evening spent / dreaming of something tearing my heart out & when I am / forced to give it all away these travels & my struggles / slowly fade like early rain like water’s rising to mist a world / away from here & one thing I have discovered is how to have / Hebrew dreams after the DMV & the gifting of beggars / as all charity speaks Hebrew & anything I lack feels fuller / in Hebrew & this is where I’ve learned yom tov & this / is where I understand bevakasha means you’re welcome / as well as please& I ease into some sense of letters & / this is where worries of never knowing the feeling of shalom /finally give guttural breath to the sounds inside my name.                                                                           

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“What to Do While Waiting in Boston” released in the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review

I am pleased to announce that my poem, “What to Do While Waiting in Boston,” has been published in the beautifully assembled Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review issue recently released. Click the link to read it.

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Review: When Rap Spoke Straight To God

My review of Erica Dawson’s groundbreaking long poem, When Rap Spoke Straight to God is now at New York Journal of Books. Click to read it.

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I am honored to tell you that my poem, “Louisiana Life,” is out in the current, beautiful issue of the FREDERICKSBURG LITERARY AND ART REVIEW, Pages 78-79. Click to read it.

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Louisiana Life to Appear in Fredericksburg Review

I am happy to say that my poem, “Louisiana Life,” will appear in  the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. The poem, which tracks the history of life in Louisiana through a unique lens, is well matched in its new publication home. Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review is a beautiful, well-curated journal. Here is their link: Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review.

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Semifinalist for Francine Ringold Awards

I just got word that my short story, “The Almost Living,” was selected as a semi-finalist for the Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers by the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry.

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