Poetry. Music. "Raphael's voice is a tool for sanity and survival in a world where hazards keep appearing on our path... The poems in both Songs from a Small Universe and SPANGLING DARKNESS illuminate his love for life and engagement with the natural world and with the community. SPANGLING DARKNESS ignites the imagination for a new vision that allows the earth to mend. This is the gift of Raphael Block as a poet whose spirit resonates in our common humanity and binds us together."—J. Glenn Evans, from the Foreword
"The poems in SPANGLING DARKNESS breathe with a remarkable sensory awareness that brings a reader as close as one can get to daily life. This is where Raphael Block begins to work magic as a poet. Once I feel so honestly and deeply near to what happens in this life, close to what I want so much and what I would rather escape, connections and mysteries come to meet me with a capacity to awaken within me a spiritual consciousness fallen asleep through lack of attention. It is as if these poems are companions that know both the corner store and that other world."—John Fox, founder of The Institute for Poetic Medicine and author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem- making
"'Can you touch the point of stillness / just before birds take off?' the poet asks in 'Magic is Here,' one of the songs concluding SPANGLING DARKNESS, Raphael Block's second collection of poems. The sacred abides in that stillness, and each poem calls us to attention, that we may hear the rhyme of waves, witness the yeast- risen Christ, feel the burning sap of a fire-born seed, the life-force pulsing in the filaments of the invisible web that holds us, lovers and fools, if we're lucky. And we, the lucky readers, emerge from our daily subtractions 'hewed a little larger' by Block's poems, with their twin blessings of grace and wonder."—Terry Ehret, Author of Lucky Break, and Poet Laureate of Sonoma County 2004-06
|Publisher:||Poetic Matrix Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
Born on a kibbutz in Israel to pioneering parents, Raphael Block spent his boyhood playing on the hills of Haifa. Just before turning nine, his family moved back to England. Learning English shaped his ear for sounds, and the British climate and temperament fashioned his life over the next 25 years until he met and married an American living in London. In 1993 they moved to Northern California with their daughter. His partner died from cancer in 2002, and for the following years he feels it was his privilege to raise their girl. Raphael has worked with children of all ages for almost 30 years. He lives in an old apple orchard outside of Sebastopol, CA.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
To read Raphael Block’s poems is to be pulled towards an exhilarating buoyancy lined with innocence and wisdom. His Spangling Darkness illuminates and transforms, giving us “a damp imprint and a fluttering of wings.” Raphael’s voice is a call to clearly examine the “heaped palette of truths.” He leads us with language gentle, joyful, uproarious, and outrageous, reminding us of that forgotten song in our heart which the earth “with a whoop and a fling” blazes before us each day.
These evocative poems arise out of the everyday, ordinary life suffusing it with magic and mystery. We are given the chance to 'listen-in' as the poet shares his heart-opening experiences of life and to share in looking at things afresh and askew as if for the first time. Beautiful drawings add to the beauty of this collection.
When you first start reading Raphael Block's poems, you think he is transporting you to another place. Then you realize he is really pointing out what is all around you. What a blessing to have it all unveiled before you...the majesty of the here and now. That, in itself, would be a good enough reason to call him great...but his Absolute Spangling Genius comes in the way he writes his last two lines. Those last one or two lines, where he lets you go, seem to always leave me lighter and happier. I find many of them popping up in my mind when appropriate, and my shoulders always relax...and I smile. I don't know what a book of poetry could give you that would be better than that.
Raphael Block’s poetry shines especially as a witness to the interface of mind and nature. His observations of the teeming details of the world are an act of self-discovery, healing and awakening. His art is made to lead the reader through a multitude of simple surprises, often things close to us and half unnoticed, that come to a new life in this poet’s patient eye. Spangling Darkness is finely illustrated with drawings by Clare Allen which are inspired by the poems. This is a special and enduring book.