Thanks to the author, publisher and Love Books Tours for the copy of this poetry collection in return for my honest opinion.
It’s been years since I read a collection of poems by one author, as I tend to play safe and gravitate towards anthologies on a set theme with many voices instead. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone in reviewing Giveth And Taketh, and I’m glad I did.
Here’s the blurb: Was Donald Trump able to become President because God abandoned us? Are Jews white? Does Hell have better weather than Heaven?
In Giveth and Taketh, Rota addresses all of these questions, discussing his own experience and political theology as a Jewish person in the Trump-era while also exploring broader issues of race, mental health and grief.
Here’s my review: I’ve read the poems in Giveth And Taketh several times since receiving this book, one or two at a time so I could immerse myself in Rota’s words and symbolism. My favourite changes dependent on what’s being portrayed in the news as happening globally, or who have become victims of a late night Twitter-bashing from the current POTUS.
For anyone who thinks poetry is iambic pentameter (the “dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum” rhythm of syllables in a line) or lonely clouds wandering, Giveth And Taketh is likely to raise your eyebrows so high that you’ll need help to detangle them from your hair.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fidgety, uncomfortable, claustrophobic sensations Rota’s poems evoked in me. I appreciate that may sound strange to some, but I want poetry to make me really feel, and not just comforting, safe feelings either. In these pages (would this be classed as a chapbook?), I felt like a dazzling, burning light was shone on the political, theological, historical, emotional and cultural aspects of what it must be like to be of Jewish descent in the USA today.