About this book
These remarkable poems blend spiritual unease with religious confidence, an investigator’s fascinated spirit with a sense that the poet has almost–but not quite– come home.
A series of evocative poems that ask the big questions–about faith, doubt, love, yearning, and, most powerfully of all, the yearning for knowledge. Caplan also debates the basis of the big questions, asking ‘To know/what you feel, not what you ought to feel, /is there anything harder? ”
Yes, this is a book of yeshiva study, yeshiva days and nights, and of the avid, ardent, on-fire (and sometimes doubtful and conflicted) longing to understand God’s Holy Words in a world of prayerful devotion where “each syllable / [is] said corrected or repeated until it is.” But to consign these poems solely to the realm of “religion” or “theology” or “scholarly exegesis” is to dismiss Rabbi Schneur Zalman’s observation, “We must live with the times. ”
A searing, shimmering lucidity: among its many offerings, David Caplan’s Into My Garden delicately, precisely, unforgettably tracks the fear and love informing Jewish study and longing. One encounters here an unusual sensibility–profound, thoughtful, rigorous, tender. An assured, commanding book which has its sights on something far more important than the merely literary.
–Maureen N. McLane
“I don’t remember half / the prayers I’ve said, even saying them,” confides David Caplan, bringing American Confessionalism into the Chassidic tradition in this searching and luminous collection.
David Caplan’s brilliant new collection takes us into a yeshiva, and into the searching, longing, and dedication of the student mind. As he writes in Into My Garden, “The more/ you need them, the more words demand.” I close this book thinking deeply not only about faith but also about language–how, whether in poetry or in prayer, it carries us, guides us toward understanding.
A book of devotional poems that speaks poignantly, often heartbreakingly, to the believers and nonbelievers of our present moment. This brilliant book is a treasure of the Chassidic–and the human–experience.