Abraham’s Bagel

is Misha Feigin’s second collection of poetry. He has received the Thomas Merton Prize for Poetry and was awarded the Al Smith Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction. His other books include Searching for Irina and The Last Word in Astronomy, both by Fleur Publishing.

Misha Feigin was born and raised in Moscow and known as one of Russia’s premier guitarists. He released two albums on the state label Melodiya.

Since moving to the U.S. in 1990, Misha has been featured on National Public Radio and BBC. He has toured throughout North America and Europe releasing ten CDs in America and Germany, and two in Great Britain on Leo Records.

Misha Feigin performed on many prestigious stages such as Moscow’s Concert Hall Russia, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Vancouver Jazz Festival, and Winnipeg Folk Festival. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Soon is nothing and Soon is a lot, Soon is everything, Soon is death” Heinrich Böll

Soon Is Enough

Tuning to the music
Of the moment,
All you can do –
Simply watch
Its glistening skin
Dissolving in the haze
Of imperceptiveness
Leaving a fleeting
Imprint on your retina –
Just like a shifting web
Of sparks emerging
In your sight
When you have your
Eyes shut after
A careless glimpse
Of the sun.

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Misha Feigin’s

second book of poetry, “Abraham’s Bagel,” shows a reflective mind that appreciates each of life’s creations, in its own unique importance. The poet, who was born and raised in Moscow, came to America in 1990. He has won the Thomas Merton Prize for Poetry and the Al Smith Fellowship for Creative Non-Fiction. The intimacy of his work allows us into his mind — he even probes his own creativity. In “Dark Matter,” he wonders if his thoughts will produce good writing, and if so, will he know the time to introduce it:

Sweet things of the past
Finally ripen — withered fruit
Of suspicious diversity —
Leave it to the worms!
Days of anguish and nights of despair
Fermented into a decent wine —
But what is an occasion
To uncork it?

Feigin is known as one of Russia’s premier guitarists, and has toured Europe and North America performing on such prestigious stages as Moscow’s Concert Hall and Washington’s Kennedy Center. As we see what he sees, our imagination glides along with an undercurrent of music. His poetry is filled with phrases that stir a tonal resonance: “Waiting to burst out … sending off ripples … pace, melody, and silence … You can hear the sound between the sounds … (as it) wraps you with the song/ You are longing to sing … focused on a vibration.”

I invite you to read this book twice so you won’t leave treasure behind. This poet lifts the ordinary into something grand. When he takes a walk in Cave Hill Cemetery, he transports the reader into his creation of simple things made poignant by his reflection: “A spring rain,/ Warm and slow/ Tickles the black asphalt …” He notices the magnolia tree, the tires rustling by, Canada geese honking.

At other times, he takes a serious subject and gives it an unexpected turn that makes it witty, but not mean. In the last four lines of the title poem, the narrator contemplates the beginning of the 1917 Russian Revolution:

Remember? Battleship Aurora’s salvo
Cures excesses of evolution,
Initiates new dawns, eliminates …
Kaboom!!! Oy. …

The main outlet for “Abraham’s Bagel” is The Second Story bookstore on Highland Avenue. It is also available at Barnes and Noble. — written by Mary Popham. (Mary Popham is a writer and critic who lives in Louisville.)