Laws of Rest invents a new form, the English prose sonnet ï?? an intricate chamber of text enclosed within four quatrains of right-justified prose. In their box-like aesthetics, the poems conjure the weird, meticulous worlds of Joseph Cornell or Edmund Spenser. But anything can happen in these little rooms, in which the overheard conversation of taxi drivers, invented verses of Virgil, found text about Middle-Eastern geopolitics, and the music of extinct butterflies merge into unpredictable collage. Presiding over all is the gender-bending character Lucy, the subject of a failed love affair conducted in convenience stores and equestrian centers. The book ends with a series of poems a friend who died young, bringing to elegaic focus the poems' quest to understand the laws of rest (a phrase taken from the Jewish laws of Sabbath observance): the stillness of loss, the mute repose at the end of speaking.
Priase for Laws of Rest:
These are sly, strange poems one can live within.
- The Globe and Mail
To make a David Goldstein poem: put a small library together. Include some rabbinic commentary, some literary theory, some Shakespeare and some transcriptions of cellphone conversations. Add a dash of longing and a dollop of irreverent wit. Stir vigorously. Never remove from heat.
- Adam Sol
The elegant, inventive prose poems in David Goldstein's Laws of Rest deploy mathematical rigor - each of the eight poems in each section has four print blocks with four very tight lines each - to contain a fantasy world in which everyday experience is transmuted into things rich and strange. Laws of Rest will keep you on your toes!
- Marjorie Perloff