Although he’s a prose poet, Yermiyahu Ahron Taub’s poems in The Education of a Daffodil demonstrate that he is also part storyteller and part playwright from another time. Somehow Taub weaves these genres together to create striking narrative tales of trauma, loss, displacement, sexuality, and xenophobia. Imagine a Yiddish bard from centuries past who creates scenes that mark his place in this post-modern world: that is Yermiyahu Ahron Taub. This courageous collection, which offers flickers of Lucille Clifton and flashes of Marge Piercy, won’t let us forget that the past flourishes in the present, and that the unexamined life is a terrible waste.
— Carmen Calatayud, author of In the Company of Spirits
A gifted story-teller, Yermiyahu Ahron Taub inhabits many worlds: the world of the outsider, seeking connection, the immigrant, the yeshiva student, the fragile daffodil, the one who is bullied for being different, for being gay, the lover. This powerful book is his “extended sojourn into a labyrinth of pain and recovery.” Through this foray into ballads, fairy tales, and parables, Taub gives us access to the journey of his own healing. This brave and brilliant book is a gateway to transformation, in which the reader feels like a confidante, a treasured and trusted friend.
— Deborah Leipziger, author of Flower Map and co-founder of Soul-Lit, a journal of spiritual poetry
In The Education of a Daffodil, Yermiyahu Ahron Taub offers his readers a sober, beautiful, and wild human choir. These delicate and powerful poems sing of women waiting for bombs to fall, aunts in kitchens, black veils. We hear of revolutionary lovers, alley kisses, an elderly woman who used to ride buses. We see a hero dance on a football field at night. We listen as he muses over the names the world has called him, the colors of his clothes. In this lush human chorus, we not only see the cruelties that land on some of us, we also see survival. It can be no surprise that this survival beautifully comes to us in poems. This collection of poems sings of survival. It’s a song we all need.
— Joseph Ross, author of Ache, Gospel of Dust, and Meeting Bone Man
In The Education of a Daffodil, Taub carefully studies the singular experience of the shlimazl (a person who suffers through no fault of their own), a both fragile and resilient character who faces an estrangement from himself and others, and the essential foreignness of being human. Driven by a natural gift for storytelling, Taub’s creative and meticulous prose poems find similarities between orphaned girls, an aging dowager never brilliantly beautiful, and the Orthodox Jewish boy dancing to the beat of a band in the shadow of a football stadium. With precision and a understanding for the layers and shades of human suffering, Taub captures what happens to the person who inherits “eyes ringed red from years of not looking away.” For me, The Education of a Daffodil reads like a personal midrash on a single person’s life. In an elegant and highly-tuned style, Taub retells the story of the underdog, bestowing upon this suffering figure the laurels of compassion, thus re-imagining him as a hero in his own tale, one in which he can say, ultimately, I lived, I survived.
— Leslie Contreras Schwartz, author of Fuego
In The Education of a Daffodil, Yermiyahu Ahron Taub charts a young man’s journey from innocence to experience across a treacherous, sometimes painful landscape. These are meditative poems that look outward to characters both historical and contemporary, as well as inward to the dark corners of the heart. In poems that are by turns fearsome and ominous, tender and humorous, Taub takes between his fingers the “texture of experience,” showing how we hurt and, ultimately, how we heal. There is danger here, violence and its aftershocks, but also a celebration of survival. This poet has “stardust scattered / throughout his song.”
— Matthew Thorburn, author of Dear Almost