Voice Lesson

Voice Lesson


Sharon Israel


Sample Poem

Red Coat

He taught her to dance and now she lived for Swing
and liked him (he looked so good doing the Lindy)
but he was ravenous for her
his junkyard dog days gone gone gone
and she was that gorgeous his Lena his Lena
his own Vivian Leigh - - not knowing
the gorgon years to come would turn his hair
make his eyes stone crazy as he smelled her skin

because at fourteen she had fallen
for someone else who was kind and wild
and stole something and went to Juvie
and moved away and that was that
except they remained tangled up - -
invisible branches dense
with songless birds sending
secret signals to their other selves.

Maybe that’s why
she walked in her sleep
spent mornings in her darkened room
wore pink nightgowns pinned up the sides
and why he became his own Iago
putting their wedding picture facedown
in a drawer and burning her red coat
(too whorish) in the incinerator.


Add To Cart

Select Reviews

Sharon Israel’s poems are full of song and detail, movement and color; the pleasures she brings to the page are many and varied. We are as likely to find Israel’s speaker sighting owls in the Catskills, or helping in her dad’s butcher shop, as in the world of music implied by the title. In Voice Lesson, Israel’s urge is alchemical, so that when she’s behind the counter, “scoop[ing] shiny brains into plastic bags” she is also arranging them “carefully like pale jewels.” She’s after a kind of transformation, and urges us, “Always make room/for that singing thing/inside you.” —Daisy Fried, author of Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice
This is a powerful intelligent work by a poet who knows how to share and sing her feelings. Not afraid of intimacy, Sharon catches light in the darkness in these 22 poems with a fresh voice that will entice the reader to return to this book for her authentic displays of gratitude and tenderness. The poems are a mixture of what is sacred, what needs to be remembered, music in the day-to-dayness of our lives. She has the ability to receive even the world’s sensuality—”basso/ mountain chords-ocean’s/ salt and sweet palate/ of rivers and lakes, island keys under chromatic/ skies turned major or minor...”   while honoring and celebrating a connection to family “Whipped by the wind on the mountain,/ I look to my son, breathe in and sing.” —Rosaly DeMaios Roffman, author of I Want to Thank My Eyes
Sharon Israel’s “Type Triple A” is a poetic Mobius strip whose title, meaning, and sound all curve back on each other to create a beautiful effect. —Ken S, Editor, Spank the Carp