Author: Eli Goldblatt
Artists: Wendy Osterweil and Michael Moore
Publisher: Chax Press (2019)
"In a sentence, the phrase 'for instance' follows an assertion or argument, and precedes a series of examples. Eli Goldblatt gives us myriad examples unconnected to a thesis, except insofar as the thesis asserts what is. This is a world composed of bombings, wars, bad history, framed in a private space of family, garden and dream-work (which often takes us back to all the bad histories). In a larger sense, the book is an elegy—for his dear friend Gil Ott, and for a world where fascists lose. But 'even in Barcelona, Franco won.' 'War grows' in the poet's mind, erupting in museums and in his son, who 'emerges into the sunlight stabbing, punching, blasting his enemies.' Words are like tattoos; they scar. The poet craves 'a language beyond all this talk, / words erupting beneath words that evict / or seduce, dominate or sell.' Goldblatt's book offers a public and private MRI; we do not yet have the results, so we can only hope for the best. Our primary consolation may be that we have this map of one poet's decency and care."
–Susan M. Schultz
"In For Instance, Eli Goldblatt's poems traverse a shifting, at times nightmarish landscape marred by the trauma of endless war and the numbing, oppressive impact of late capitalism. He writes, 'I crave a language beyond all this talk, words erupting beneath words that evict or seduce, dominate or sell,' and these humane and finely wrought poems reach toward family, friends, admired artists, and amiable strangers to reclaim our language in hopes of 'a sentence, one simple tectonic cooperative venture.' There are hummingbirds, ancient spruce trees, simple monuments constructed 'in commemoration or resistance.' There is the reaffirming knowledge that '(t)he road yards from my table would lead me to you if I begin walking now.'"