Simon Perchik

“Simon Perchik’s extraordinary lyric talent is one of the best-kept secrets in contemporary American poetry… surreal leaps orchestrate very personal material into archetypal configurations that approach transcendence.” —Edward Butscher, Confrontation 

“Perchik is the most widely published unknown poet in America… Often dense, often difficult, Perchik’s poems nevertheless lead to strange, unanticipated conclusions that usually reward the pursuit.” —Library Journal 

“Let others jockey for position. Perchik’s poems are obdurate and honest and will reach those who need them most.” —James Tate



Parsifal press 2007 13.95 U.S. 16.00 Can ISBN 978-0-9739960-3-6 RAFTS - Review by Irene Koronas This book of poetry shifts back and forth, time tides, small ocean pools we can gaze into for small bits, living matters. “you can hear the dirt, the shallow foothold, the hand to hand.” The poem’s relationships have a natural commitment with family - lovers as close as trees. “and nothing underneath but this orange this half brother, half-sister, head down-there’s still room, the healing bigger than ever, returning from a pasture and covered with wet grass.” The intimacy of Simon Perchik’s poetry astounds, the reader immediately recognizes and identifies with the persistent struggle to identify with all-around oneself. “it’s a scary scratching, squeaks right through the heart as when falling stars cry out the light that is not morning and leaf by leaf, surrounded by a fence.” Mostly, this collection of poems, melds into an epic like Homer, but not Homer, like sublime, but not sublime; these poems are narrative sublimity in that they also capture, take us on the journey. and what is the journey? is it simply in the narrative in nature, the going forth, coming back? perhaps. “anything is possible-they hatch til the stones whose common ancestor in the moon…they keep the dead company.” we carry his words up the hill. pile them in neat piles, then the phrases tumble down and find another configuration. Rafts is a poetry book that dares to be its own. “once you reach the emptiness it will still answer…” Irene Koronas is the poetry editor of the Wilderness House Literary Review and a member of the "Bagel Bards," a writers' group in the Boston area. Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene Monday, October 29, 2007
Irene Koronas
Hands Collected: The Books of Simon Perchik (Poems 1949–1999) Simon Perchik Edited by David Baratier Pavement Saw Press, $30 (paper) Perchik is a poet who can hand us a few loaves and fishes, and out of that offering an abundant feast is laid across our table: “The table too has come to stay / though each morning its crust / is ground for flour, sifted, stones / unfolding into arms, legs, breasts.” The son of a silk weaver, Perchik was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1923, and like his memory of the twin sister he lost in childhood, the poems shadow Goethe’s observation that the content of poetry is “the content of one’s own life”: “Every flash is that silk / every pain a spindle broken :a rope / bleeding with banners, tags, bulbs / shining across the street:a roadblock / cheering the return that goes no further.” Perchick has been referred to by one reviewer as “the most widely published unknown poet in America,” and Hands Collected gathers work from no fewer than sixteen previous books along with fifty-nine new pieces, including “All the huskies are eaten”: “. . . my knuckles/reek from gangrene, the sled: beds / have their limits and the nurse / leans as if I could read the chart / would turn back and the scented ink / only flames make legible.” Perchik’s signature use of the displaced colon alerts the reader that a metaphor is taking place, and there’s music here—but no soothing cadence. Instead, words clash and clatter more in the manner of plates breaking, and commonplace images such as stones, cups, and apples leap into the extraordinary: “he must dread the splash / is trained to wade slowly and where / the waves are buried, where these stones / harden, climb to that same altitude / they once flew—a sky / still slippery, filled all at once / with 12 dark-green stones.” For the poet, the matter is ever-changing—skies become mountainsides, ice, and valleys become drops, then mourners—as is life itself, and we are asked to remember that we “come here to leave / and this rain before it dies / at its loudest calls you into the sea.” —Susan Tepper
Susan Tepper