A Split Second of Light, Stewart's latest poetry collection, published by Blue Light Press
Recipient of Honorable Mention in the San Francisco Book Festival, 2011
The Boy Scout Handbook
Father makes a big loop
then pulls the end of the rope through.
It looks like a cursive O,
the first letter of a word
in a foreign language
we’re trying to master
but neither of us has a clue:
bowline, clove hitch, sheet bend.
He looks at the book
then pulls the rope out,
sweating—his big hands
that would sooner carve sides of beef.
Years earlier he took me
to his meat market
and showed off the carcasses
hanging in the locker.
See, this is how you carve a steak,
from the hindquarter.
His cleaver glided easily
across lines of gristle
then he handed me the filet,
from his hands into mine.
Praise for A Split Second of Light:
Written with passionate precision, Florsheim's collection goes to the core of a wide range of intrigues and interests: the Holocaust, artworks, the mysteries of the everyday. Urbane and astute, his work is empathetic and clear-headed. A rich offering.
--David Meltzer, author of David’s Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer
Among the pleasures of Stewart Florsheim's A Split Second of Light are his incisive character portraits of parents and family and the dramatic incidents he conjures out of paintings by Caillebotte, Chardin, Bonnard and others. Florsheim's gift for scene-setting and succinct phrasing, and his eye for revealing detail, make this a rewarding collection.
--Chana Bloch, author of Blood Honey and translator of Yehuda Amichai and other Israeli poets
Stewart Florsheim is one of those rare poets who has it all: chillingly beautiful language that draws the reader into myriad worlds of “riveting silence” and “prayer bells”; great courage to face the darkness, and the strength and wisdom to see that death and life are inextricably intertwined. This is an extraordinary book.
--Louise Nayer, author of Burned: A Memoir