Poetry Book Review: Grimoire by Jacob Moses
Grimoire by Jacob Moses offers a unique, poetic blend of magick, nature, and Jewish spirituality you can’t find elsewhere. This book is the biggest and best poetry collection that Moses has released to this date.
Quail Bell is no stranger to the poetry of Jacob Moses. He is a poet from Staten Island, New York who excels at written poetry and spoken word alike. He’s also a wizard who expresses himself and his spirituality through his poetry. Moses embraces poetry as a form of magick as well as a tool for growth and healing. On top of all that, he’s currently pursuing an MA in English and Creative Writing with a poetry concentration at Southern New Hampshire University. Thus, it’s safe to say that Moses has a way with words.
If poetry is an extension of the person who writes it, then each copy of his books contains more than a generous slab of Jacob Moses’ soul. Furthermore, Grimoire is the most soulful poetry book he’s released so far, which makes it the most sizable piece of his soul he’s ever published. For those who don’t know: The word “grimoire” refers to a book of spells. While this book isn’t a literal grimoire in the traditional sense, each poem is a spell in its own right. All of the poems sparkle with the wisdom and insight he’s gathered as a wizard navigating the world as it currently is.
In August 2020, I reviewed Seance, a chapbook of his that also focuses heavily on magick, nature, and his expressions of Jewish mysticism. Earlier that year, I reviewed Art Therapy 101, a chapbook that emphasizes the importance of symbols, mental health, and creativity. In 2019, I reviewed …and the willow smiled, another chapbook where his personal, intimate voice, nature, and Jewish spirituality shine through the poems. Grimoire is his newest poetry book, and it includes some of the poems from his previous chapbooks along with his more recent poetry. All in all, the poems in this book are personal, passionate, and original.
Grimoire is divided into 8 sections: “Creatures”, “Herbology”, “Incantations”, “Demonology”, “Rituals”, “Visions”, “Transfiguration”, and “Prophecies”. Each section contains poetry that relates to its label in some way. If you’re interested in reading poetry by someone who practices their own eclectic version of Jewish magick, then look no further than this book. Reading it will teach you not only about magick from his perspective, but also how to use poetry to cultivate and express your own magick. After all, magick is part of Moses’ everyday life.
I’ve always enjoyed how Moses writes and publishes poems about birds. As a witch, I’ve always felt spiritually connected to birds. As such, I often rely on them for divination and messages. Fortunately, there are multiple bird poems in here, all of which relate to Moses’ life, magick, and spiritual practices. “Ova” is a longtime favorite of mine because it frames birds as spiritual messengers and sources of wisdom.
Mentally, his poetic voice and creativity often take you places you hadn’t previously considered going before. For instance, “This is Only a Test” compares life to a television test screen. There’s also a poem called “Calecovision” that summons haunting nostalgia by centering CalecoVision, the old school game console that was released in August of 1982. He even features “Love Poem to Amélie Poulain”, a love poem dedicated to the protagonist of Amélie. With all of this in mind, that’s why I believe Grimoire is a magical experience for those who approach its pages seeking variety as much as spiritual/magical themes.
I encourage you, the reader, to buy your own copy of Grimoire through Tonii Inc. Also, follow Jacob Moses on Facebook and Instagram to get more updates about his writing. It’ll make a good holiday present for a loved one who enjoys poetry.
-Ghia Vitale, poet/editor