Grimoire is an extraordinary book of poetry. On the copper skin textured cover hangs two spiders. The spider has long symbolized patience and persistence. Read this book, cover to cover and you will appreciate the author’s journey. Ancient Celtic people created symbols to represent important aspects of their lives, including spirituality. I do not know much about the symbols on this book or if they are Celtic, but two beautiful images quietly adorn the cover. Every health professional, every aspiring poet should own a copy. Examine the truth, beauty, and ugly of what makes a poem magnificent, relevant and universal.
Jacob R.Moses, “poetic incantations toward self-discovery”, reminds me of an invisible gift a university professor once gave me: to write great poetry you must know more than the rose, he said, you must know “the barbed-wire cock of the devil.” Moses doesn’t hide his challenges but uses his knowledge of himself and the world as tools to take back his authentic self and become a model for others in recovery. In his words, “To be bipolar/in a scattered world/is to be a compass/Demagnetized/and without a clear direction/out of melancholy.“
In essence, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”and no matter what he calls himself, Jacob R. Moses is the real deal, a poet of the highest caliber. He possesses a wide spectrum of vocabulary and uses words like paint or music to compose a mood with meaning. Moods of which he admits, he has many. The author employs lines like,”resentment laced with poetry.” One of my favorite words he uses is, “cockamamie” or a phrase constructed in “Love Poem to Amelie Poulain”. He observes her with admiration: “cracked your creme brulee/and enjoyed its simplicity“.
Like gravity, he asserts permanent laws in a mist of ever changing forms in time. Solid, then liquid, then gas are images that permeate the pages; forms changing forms, faithful to science and ancestry. The book is different, and looks different. Titles are on the bottom. I needed to look up, Grimoire, as I had no frame of reference. It makes no difference your educational level, or the letters after your name, you may have to stretch yourself to the dusty bookshelf where a physical dictionary lies dormant. This poet will educate and inform. He calls all those sleepwalking through the day, dragging a morphine drip, to wake up to oneself; there is ancestry, stars in the sky and stories to tell.
Jacob demonstrates a knowledge of many subjects, music, science, herbology, biology, architecture, psychology, spirituality, mysticism, numerology, to name a few, and magick. He has graduated with hard knocks and knows recovery and rehabilitation. He has a reverence for nature, animals, gem stones, the solid, beauty of amethyst; and like my poetry teacher, the visionary, poet and translator, Robert Bly, Jacob has a positive value of the number 13. He has a keen observation and has a sense of humor. In his poem, 13th Floor, he writes: The Empire State Building/does not have a 13th floor/and those who defend this/have no ground to stand on.”
The author’s word choice/phrase combinations weave a colorful quilt to express his understanding of the world, his predicament, and reveals a search for meaning and identity. He expresses how obstacles of social placement and isolation can blur a person’s true nature. Moses takes responsibility for the choices he made in life which did not serve him. He writes about forgiveness The “rhymes he spits has many germs.” (pg.43). He knows, “shit hits the fan.” He puts common words in powerful unusual phases, “octets piss on symphonies”. He metabolizes his pain into radiant sheets of poetry, using rare, true and effective language. His poems are beautiful not ugly, although his journey full of smothering smoke. In reading his work, I am reminded of Tupac Shakur and his poem, “ The Rose That Grew From Concrete” and I hear, buzzing in my ear the incantations, the strong affirmations of Anthony Robbins and in my mind’s eye see the peppered butterfly that hugged the bark of trees and survived the industrial revolution. 13 Thank Yous, Jacob R. Moses, for your volcanic energy, for your heart and drum. Peers in recovery will benefit from your bravery.
Kathryn M. Fazio
Former Poet Laureate, The College of Staten Island
U.S.A. Representative Poet at the Fifth World Congress of Poets
Winner of the Silla Gold Crown World Peace Literature Prize
A Former Poetry Judge at Uptown Jimmy’s
Development Consultant/Network Specialist, Baltic Street Into Action
This will be a reading series where owning our books will be crucial for discussion. I will be featured on 2/10 starting at 8PM. Get your tickets, our books, and this wine. You won’t regret it.
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This series also features the stylings of Tonii (my illustrator and brainchild behind iiPublishing), Carla Cherry, Michel M. Antoine, R.Sen (R.Sen), Natalie Nascenzi, T.J McGowan, Nora Oz, and many more. Order tickets at toniiinc.com/events
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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
is a fine collection of poetry put together by Jacob R. Moses — the poem “herbal eruption” is one of my faves; its fiery theme reminds me of Audre Lorde’s “write fire” mission statement. And I appreciate the care & thought put into this book, even a small detail like providing the reader with the phonetic pronunciation of the title.
The etymology of Grimoire goes back to the Greek “gramma” ( letter) and the Latin “Grammática” (grammar) The word itself names a book of spells and takes us to remote Gothic times where the words and their permutations were powerful enough to make changes. Poems are made of words, words create images. Grateful to read @jacobreubenmoses poetry of change and wisdom, his Grimoire finds the magic scene and the words to transmit us beautiful, foretelling images like the poem “Vision Quest”: “ My father’s legacy exists in Martling’s Pond…” #newpoetrybook #statenislandpoets #statenislandpoetry #poetsofinstagram
-Rocío Uchofen, poet
“Jacob R. Moses is a self proclaimed wizard, whose collection of poetry ‘Grimoire’ exemplifies a mystical and magical feel from the cover of the book to the words spoken inside. He speaks through his own experiences of addiction and depression, while battling his inner demons to embrace a sense of inner spirituality. One of my favorite poems, ‘Anthems,’ reads as a self mantra where he is assuring himself he is in control. His poems can feel at times like dreams – structured around themes of animals and plants, as well as emotional struggles and growth. His ancestors are mentioned throughout guiding him as he delves into his self healing through the chaos in his head. I was taken away by how his words sound like spells being cast into the air when spoken out loud -‘Sueños oscuros; somos la única luz’ as heard in the lines from his poem ‘Medianoche.’ I found myself reading the poems straight through and was astonished by how smoothly each topic aligned with the theme of each chapter connecting the whole feel of the book and its majestic concept. I couldn’t recommend this book any more. It is a wonderful body of work and I am proud to include it on my shelf next to all the other authors of his caliber.”
-Kyoko Heshiimu, poet/visual artist