Dan Bellm's third book of poems takes as its starting point the Jewish practice of studying weekly portions of the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, in an annual cycle. Working in the midrashic tradition--imaginatively explaining or expanding a Biblical text, often well beyond its literal meaning--the poems offer meditations on faith, doubt, yearning, family ties, love and loss, and the age-old roots of modern-day war. In Practice, we see a poet of extraordinary range and formal versatility, whose sonnets, villanelles, prose poems, and lyric inventions engage both the imagination and the heart. These poems are at once accessible and complex, deeply personal and profoundly universal.
"Reading Dan Bellm's poems, I think: This is blessing. . . . I am in awe of how Bellm's poems perform a dance with and against Holy Scripture. Practice is like a long prayer of wonder, gratitude, pain and loss and tenderness." --Alicia Ostriker
"Something happened to Dan Bellm in this third book that I believe will propel him most deservingly as one of the foremost poets of his generation. Here, speaking the language of the prophets, revising it in a way that is both humble and heartbreakingly playful . . . Bellm achieves a quiet grandeur that casts a spell and does not let me be. I love Practice as a book-long sequence of parables, prayers, elegies, and incantations that are traditional and yet utterly contemporary. In assembling this formal collection, Bellm teaches us: We are living in Biblical times." --Ilya Kaminsky
Published with Sixteen Rivers Press