J. J. Steinfeld
Fiction writer, poet, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld’s latest poetry collection, Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be, has been recently published by Guernica Editions. The one hundred poems of this new collection confront, grapple with, explore, argue with, and ultimately embrace the human condition as they hover between what the author sees as the absurd and the existential elements of life, wending their way through the worldly and otherworldly aspects of existence, the ordinary and the extraordinary spheres of being. These poems ask questions of what it means to live in this world, to flee from it, to return to its emotional gravity. Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be deals with themes of love and creativity and madness, attempts to make sense out of senseless. These poems ask the reader to join the writer in states of being and worlds hovering between the absurd and the existential.
Picture J. J. Steinfeld walking down a busy street. He carries a book in each hand; one is maybe a prayer book and the other a book of jokes. What he expects in this neighbourhood is mostly bad news. A small crowd listens while the poet defines the nature of irony. He says “I thought that Heaven would be so much different.”
“The poems are best when the knife cuts closest.”—David Helwig, PEI Poet Laureate (2008-2009), author of The Year One and Keeping Late Hours
“The subtitle, One Hundred Poems Hovering Between the Absurd and the Existential, to J. J. Steinfeld’s new poetry collection is the key to unlock the world view the poems embody: woe and glory. Side by side are sorrow and exaltation, fear and laugher, and, above all, there is the astonishing intelligence of this high-energy poet who holds onto childlike wonder and awe of life while conducting a scintillating and profound existential dialogue with the reader. Buckle up.”—Deirdre Kessler, PEI Poet Laureate (2016-2018), author of Afternoon Horses and Mother Country
“Once more, J.J. Steinfeld stretches the boundaries of the absurd and the existential, hoping to wake us up to the absurdities of the modern world. These poems achieve an intriguing alchemy between the ordinary and the extraordinary, the strange and the chilling.”—Mark Sampson, author of Weathervane and The Slip
Fiction writer, poet, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives in Charlottetown, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published eighteen books: two novels, Our Hero in the Cradle of Confederation and Word Burials, twelve short story collections —The Apostate’s Tattoo, Forms of Captivity and Escape, Unmapped Dreams, The Miraculous Hand and Other Stories, Dancing at the Club Holocaust, Disturbing Identities, Should the Word Hell Be Capitalized?, Anton Chekhov Was Never in Charlottetown, Would You Hide Me?, A Glass Shard and Memory, Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell, and An Unauthorized Biography of Being—and four poetry collections, An Affection for Precipices, Misshapenness, Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds, and Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be. More than 400 of his short stories and 800 poems have appeared in anthologies and periodicals, at least one piece in every Canadian province and internationally in eighteen countries, and over fifty of his one-act plays and a handful of full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States.