Leipziger, Deborah. “Flower Map”, Finishing Line Press, 2013.
A Life in Verse, Poems of Love
I review a lot of books but it also happens that I allow myself to fall behind so that I can read something, let it sink in, contemplate it and the try to come up with a novel way to review it. This is especially true with poetry which I compare to eating a good meal. Like fine dating, poetry stay will you long after it has been chewed and digested. I especially feel this way about the poetry of Deborah Leipziger. I think it is only fair to say that I know the poet Debbie and we are members of the same temple in Massachusetts. I have heard her read but I have never examined her poems as closely as I do here. Her poems are about love and she pulls us into them by her lush language and use of figures of speech. When I say love, I mean Leipziger’s love for the world, for her three daughters, for nature and for the people she has loved. There is a sensuousness that is hard to describe but we feel it the as we read. Leipziger creates a sense of intimacy and I felt that each poem that I read was actually meant just for me and no, I will not give an example. You would not me too if you felt that way.
“You are this poem
gently awakening me”.
The love we read of here is more physical than just mental. She uses flowers to show her concern for nature and then shows us how nature forms us. The poems also tend to chronicle the poet’s life.
There is a good deal of spirituality in the poems and like prayer they give us a sense of longing and desire. Thus the poems transcend life while being born out of faith. Humanity here is key and we find the love the poet writes of as we explore life. Faith here holds an equal place with spirituality and both play important parts in the make-up of the person.
I wondered why the collection is named “Flower Map” and then it hit me. Flowers are the music that makes the poems sing. Intimacy is like a flower that opens and closes depending upon nature and like flowers, we also do the same.
If I had to choose a poem that illustrates faith and spirituality it would undoubtedly be “How to make challah” which gives us a look into the poet’s ties to Judaism and tradition. Using the braided bread as a metaphor, we feel the closeness of religion and life and realize that the history of mankind is much like the process of baking bread…and not just any bread but the sweet egg-washed bread that has come to symbolize the Jewish Sabbath.
“Just as the poet unleashes the poem
so will you clear a path