Characterized by the admission of doubt in God’s desire for a better world, and willing to see Jewish tradition as indispensable, Brought Down struggles with daily life as a firm believer and continuing pride in Jewish identity.
In the great Jewish tradition of holding God to account, and not relenting in anger towards Him, the themes in this book are universal: faith, religious practice, forgiveness, history, and the relevance of belief.
“This was a real treat, walking so lightly along the line where the sacred and the profane meet with intelligence, imagination, and lots of charm. I kept being reminded of Ecclesiastes.”
–Alicia Ostriker, author of Once More Out of Darkness and Other Poems
“I’m familiar with many of the things Constam’s poems plangently evoke. . . . Some of the poems remind me, in the best way, of poems by Yehuda Amichai and Nelly Sachs. . . . From time to time, I also was reminded of some of the later poems of R. S. Thomas.”
–Kevin John Hart, Anglo-Australian theologian, philosopher, and poet
“I just love these poems! They are such a wonderful deep dive that pulls me into each experience so evocatively. Overall, what comes through is the wrestling–wrestling with God, with being faithful or not, with being secular yet pulled/tied/anchored to this tradition. . . . It resonated with my understanding of the biblical meaning of ‘Israel’ as ‘he who wrestles with God.'”
–Leonard Freeman, author of Ashes and the Phoenix
“I enjoyed most the combination of a hard, no-nonsense style . . . with restrained lyrical and philosophical flights, passages of insight that are fully poetic and dramatized.”
–A. F. Moritz, University of Toronto
“In Brought Down, Constam appears as . . . a Seinfeld-mode Job, questioning God about his ‘masquerading as the dark.’ God is ‘arbitrary’ and we are fickle; or he is fickle and our intermittent obedience to indecipherably contradictory dicta becomes the real story of each obituary. . . . I thank Simon ‘Agonistes’ Constam . . . for giving us a newfangled Ecclesiastes. Brought Down delivers the goods!”
–George Elliott Clarke, Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate, 2016-17