Genizah by Jakob Stein


Genizah: Room, closet, or cabinet, usually in a synagogue, where fragments of text bearing the name of God are stored, perhaps forever.” What then does it mean to call a book of poetry a genizah? It means that existentially, spiritually, these poems have been discarded, cast into the trash heap of religious history, but remain indelibly marked by the sign of divinity. And insofar as they bear this mark, they are, indeed, bound to eternity, impossibly figured as “the waste lands of angels.” Out of fragments of texts, memories, momentary revelations, and the mortal woes of the flesh, Jakob Stein has given us a true prophecy, a

“Star collapsed to black
book, to scroll

to one coal

heavier than the whole world”
Norman Finkelstein

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  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 114
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: Octobere, 2018
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-20-6


Stein begins this beautiful book with a description of Jerusalem’s maze of streets, a labyrinth radiating displacement and the invisible as though they were expressions of divinity. The sacred he tells us is “terrible rigorous luminous endless,” as though each mention of the God buried in his Genizah is perhaps the one law of utterance that is incomplete and that can barely be commanded.  Stein writes out of the tradition of the unsayable with great confidence and eloquence. Michael Heller



Last Book of the Wars of the Lord,
Book of Rungs & Bells & the Book

of the Fall of the Chariot, the
Book of Echoes and the Book of Echoes, torn pages

stuffed in the holes in the heart’s genizah,
gap torn in the Book in which the Book

nearly appears, gone before glimpsed, books nothing
but dusk-light & the waste lands of angels,

beams out of the dark
skull-cave of the Book

of the Book, skin-shreds for bindings
& the inner dust blank

tho you burrow there still, Jakob’s worm
in the moldering truth.

Additional information

Weight 7.8 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .375 in