Wheat, Wine & Honey, by Yaffa Ganz, is a rarity: a book of poetry.
Yaffa Ganz, of course, is famous for her children’s books. With this slim , powerful volume of poems, she shares a completely different facet of her writing talent.
Reading through Wheat, Wine & Honey is exhilarating.
This is a journey of gently, dry wit and searing pain, of agonizing questions. It is part love song to Hashem’s world, and to Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalyim in particular, and part reflection. Uncomfortable, thought-provoking challenges and lovely contemplations of a spring day follow each other, intertwined as they are in real life.
The author shares with us deeply personal questions and dilemmas (such as the poem titled “To Be, To Do, or Not To.”)
And she gifts us with gorgeous moments, snippets of time captured in her words, as in the poem “The Wind,” sixteen words of sharp clarity.
It’s a book to read in one sitting — because you won’t be able to put it down! — and then to be savored again, more slowly, to allow each poem breathing room in which to bloom. These are poems to reflect upon, to discuss, to challenge or argue with. In short, this is a work that deserves full engagement.
It’s been two decades since the last time I found a book of poetry I treasured this much. (That was the stunning Memo to Self — if you can still find a copy anywhere, grab that one, too!)
Buy now at Amazon.
We received a review copy.
Yaffa Ganz is the author of dozens of children’s books, including the famous Savta Simcha series and one of my children’s all-time favorite books: The Little Old Lady Who Couldn’t Fall Asleep.
She has also published a Jewish history for young readers, in collaboration with Rabbi Berel Wein — Sand and Stars, the Jewish Journey Through Time — three collections of essays for women, Cinnamon & Myrrh, A Different Dimension, and All Things Considered; and the incredibly useful The Jewish Factfinder.