Mt. Airy’s own Eli Goldblatt celebrates the release of his poetry collection “For Instance.” Alongside his poems, the book contains reproductions from woodcut prints by Wendy Osterweil and drawings by Michael Moore.
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 best consolation may be that we have this map of one poet’s decency and care.