The Face of the Other
An evocative and thought-provoking collection of poetry that reveals more to the reader with each reread. Clara Joseph covers a wide range of themes and ideas whilst tying them all together under the repeating image of the face, seen from many different angles and in different guises. The author seamlessly transitions between personal poems of change, transition, or personal philosophizing, to more public issues of justice and injustice, violation and destruction, all the while returning – unblinking – to the perception of the other within the world. Ultimately, this book is about what it means to meet the other person.
|ISBN 97819215231359 (PB, 78pp);
140mm x 216mm
|AUD $25||USD $18||NZD $27||GBP £12||EUR €14|
|ISBN 97819215231366 (eBook)||AUD $13||USD $10||NZD $15||GBP £6||EUR €7|
It is impossible to read Clara Joseph’s The Face of the Other without being touched profoundly by its beauty and pain, love and hurt, by the awful predicament of a sensitive vulnerability at once broken and yet still hopeful. What comes through these enchanting words is a deep compassion, eyes open, bloodied, yet reaching out.
– Richard A. Cohen, Professor of Philosophy, author of Out of Control: Confrontations between Spinoza and Levinas (2016).
Clara Joseph has written a tough, emotive book in which the self’s “brokenness/ dances to the edge” of another consciousness. Fittingly, these linked poetic meditations about facing the other do not flinch in the face of hard subjects, but instead look them long in the eye. The poems meditate upon darkness—racism, sexual violence, abject poverty. Yet the book calls us not only to ethical action, but also to a celebration of everyday life in all its lyricism and connection. “Feel my cheek for the alphabet,” the speaker beckons. Reader, these pages hold intense beauty and solace. Accept their invitation.
– David Goldstein, York University
Intelligent, thoughtful, and provocative, this sensual work ranges from the sacred to the profane in language that mixes the philosophical and the vernacular. With The Face of the Other, the well published Clara Joseph makes a stunning debut as a poet.
– Ken McGoogan, author of Lady Franklin’s Revenge
Clara A. B. Joseph
Clara on Research Gate
Ripple concentric makes shimmer face; shape and sheen dissolve sideways into your brain. There it now strikes a lodging place.
You drink in a single gulp hoping only to still your thirst, before the breath of another breathes: broken dreams and bruises.
Brushes lightly the suck, the lips mimicking a lover’s kiss. It throttles in a take of an embrace of a singleness. Inside,
the brokenness dances to the edge – this life, this you, that me in you.
Out there the fallen leaf revives – a subtle stirring, unsettling the space of plain air, after all was so cordially for-
saken. It rises to this inane pull of a one-way traffic, lowering later to the weight of water in a fist . . . wind, dizzy again at temporary doom.
It lingers before the good-bye at the teethed fence in a letting go, the going after a staying, never knowing the seeping in an oozing in a love-like hollowing. Never knowing
me on that other side, the unseen side of you observing the bobbing leaf, its twirling so caught up in a comic destiny, when I just walked away.
I walk the earth that earths you in dust to dust to dust to dus’ dus’ dus’ thus Thou should’st mark Thine image—
Thy image mocked by a pine- apple. And serpentine servers sweeten the dark mother’s face. No one is surprised
that I should turn to rare voice of voiceless beasts swishing in a slither of a swear- word wounding my womb with
Thy curse upon my face stuffed, the chew dripping the dew dropping upon my tongue in you
in Africa, South America,
Asia, good old Eritrea.
All to Adam’s Peak. Ascend Jews and Buddhists, Christians, Zoroastrians, Saracens, in search of one man’s foot-
prints pressed into dust hardened into harsh rock where only men may bow head, still touch ground to
slurp swish of stream; the sip before the last step, before
the foot in foot, the quenching at my face.
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