Friday, December 7, 2012

Book Review: Living for the Moment

Reviewed by Jack M. Freedman
A collection of poetry by Stephen J. Fernbach
I will admit that sometimes I fall victim to procrastination, which is why I am glad that I now have a spare opportunity to review a book of poetry. As a self-published poet myself, I can always appreciate work written by authors who genuinely enjoy the art of poetry. In many cases, we get to see the evolution of the poet as he or she progresses throughout the years and develops an astute maturity. This is the case of Living for the Moment, written by Stephen J. Fernbach.
This is Mr. Fernbach’s third book of poetry. He has written quite a number of personal accounts over the span of his life. Oftentimes, while I read a book of poetry, I randomly turn to a page and read it instead of reading the whole book from cover to cover. While engaging in this process, I found a couple of poems that stuck out.
Many of these writings dealt with the Jewish experience. As a person of the Jewish faith, I was able to relate with many of the sentiments expressed in the book. Such poems include “Israel Is My Shambala” and “First the Dinner Bell, Then the Shofar Sounds.”  The first poem expresses a deep love for the land of milk and honey. Such memories expressed include landmarks, such as the Sea of Galilee and the Western Wall. My own memories of staying in a kibbutz for a couple of days and being moved to tears while praying against the oft nicknamed “Wailing Wall” were evoked. The second poem includes some free-floating thoughts on the high holiday of Rosh Hashanah. For those unfamiliar with this holy day, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year and a shofar is a ram’s horn used as a musical instrument to ring in the new year in a somber fashion. I liked the memories expressed, including the Jewish customs and a dissenting message regarding Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting Ground Zero and speaking at Columbia University.
I would make one friendly recommendation though, which is for the author to flesh out his ideas a little bit more. This piece of advice is given for poems that sometimes ended abruptly. It takes a lot of talent to create imagery that inspires people and Mr. Fernbach definitely has that talent. However, in the words of Oliver Twist, “Please Sir, can I have some more?” That is, more complete thoughts that are wrapped up without leaving something to be desired.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. I personally hope that Mr. Fernbach writes a fourth book. I would like to see his craft further develop. Please write on, Mr. Fernbach. Keep poetry alive!

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