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About this poet

Philip Terman was born on November 4, 1957, in Cleveland, Ohio. He received a BA and MA from Ohio University and a PhD from Ohio State University.

Terman is the author of Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press, 2015), The Torah Garden (Autumn House Press, 2011), Rabbis of the Air (Autumn House Press, 2007), Book of the Unbroken Days (Mammoth Books, 2005), and The House of Sages (Mammoth Books, 1998).

Of Our Portion: New and Selected Poems, Stanley Plumly writes, “This is a big-hearted, large-minded book, rich in its religious heritage yet wonderfully ironic, in its particulars, about those same compelling cultural connections.”

Terman has received the Anna Davidson Roseburg Award for Poetry on the Jewish Experience and the Kenneth Patchen Award. He currently serves as a professor of English at Clarion University. He also directs the Spoken Art Reading Series, codirects the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival, and coordinates The Bridge Literary Arts Center. He lives in Grove City, Pennsylvania.


Bibliography

Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press, 2015)
The Torah Garden (Autumn House Press, 2011)
Rabbis of the Air (Autumn House Press, 2007)
Book of the Unbroken Days (Mammoth Books, 2005)
The House of Sages (Mammoth Books, 1998)

What We Own

I followed you down the switchback trail of the Grand Canyon and we slept
            in a crevice, and we own that,

and we own those moments tossing the football in front of 4073 Wyncote Road
            until the streetlights snapped on,

and we own the smoke bomb the cops threw at us and a few thousand others
            at the Jefferson Airplane concert, Akron, Ohio, 1972,

and we own the whole country we passed through, all the way to the ocean,
            where we checked into a hotel and you discovered, lying atop Gideon’s Bible,

a black film canister’s worth of weed and half-a-pack of rolling papers,
            and we smoked it, and it was good, unbelieving of our luck,

which we own, and the lunar landscape surrounding our tent in Big Bend, Texas,
            and the stars, so clear we could read by them, and did,

and we own The Godfather—Part One—on the big screen of that packed theater
            in Evanston, Illinois, and we own that fear

when were lost in the Tennessee woods, into the dark, and you followed
            some analytical instinct until we found—lo and behold—a road,

and Bob Dylan, who was ours, and Joan Baez, who was also ours, singing
            “The Times They Are A-Changing” in the War Memorial,

and watching the Indians—miracles of miracles—beat the New York Yankees
            at Yankee Stadium during the 1995 heatwave—that, too, that victory, was ours,

and I remember how quiet you sometimes were, and I asked about it, and you said it’s a feeling you
            get, you don’t know how to talk about it, and I’d like to think

we own that feeling—how we bested the myths.  We didn’t become murderer
            and victim.  We didn’t cheat on the other’s birthright.

Oh, my brother of the other world, my brother who perhaps will greet me
            when I arrive at that place prepared for by our father,

who is now joined by his own flesh and blood, which is not blood, which is not flesh, but bones and
            perhaps spirit,

which we believe in, like the moon, or the unpredictable Cleveland weather,
            or the way the snow descends on the fallen leaves,

or how the sun glazes them now, for their moment, stirred in the slight wind,
            the same wind that blew the Jerusalem dust in our faces, which we own.

From Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Philip Terman. Used with permission of the author.

From Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Philip Terman. Used with permission of the author.

Philip Terman

Philip Terman is the author of Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press, 2015) and The Torah Garden (Autumn House Press, 2011), among others. He lives in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

by this poet

poem

Pedometer attached to her belt, your mother, spry and strong
at eighty, joins the other Methodist Church members
in calculating the 5, 915 miles, no matter the weather, to add up
all the way from Linesville, Pennsylvania to Jerusalem.
They need not worry about miracles or pausing
at the