Whispers, Sympathies, & Apparitions
David Silverstein was a well-liked and well-respected figure on the Anglophone poetry scene in Tokyo in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Having already published his first book in Israel before he arrived in Tokyo (Dazzled by Nothing, 1984), he published two more books in Japan: The Suspicious Sympathy of White in 1990, and Apparitions in 1991. Holder of a PhD in Child Psychology, he worked for many years in both Israel and Tokyo as a psychotherapist until his premature and entirely unexpected death of a heart-attack in the spring of 1992. Whispers, Sympathies, & Apparitions, edited and with an afterword by Paul Rossiter, reprints a substantial selection of poems from Silverstein's three books. His special forte was the prose poem, which he used in a virtuosic way to provide the reader with - among other things - portraits of strangers on trains, glimpses into the private lives of bricks, mossy walls, bread crumbs, and other inanimate objects, reflections on the relations between seer and seen, observations arising from walks in the streets of Tokyo, and explorations of fantasy and its limits. His writing is fast-moving, improvisatory, psychologically astute, often very funny, sometimes desolating in its awareness of the costs of solitude, but also capable of articulating moments of uncomplicated happiness.
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