Poetry. Jewish Studies. From Lazer's ambitious ten-year Notebook shape–writing project, THINKING IN JEWISH challenges the way we read and write poetry and reframes the terms of spiritual autobiography. Drawing on Jewish traditions of text-and-commentary in conversation on the same page, Lazer's new book, in dialogue with the writing of Emmanuel Levinas, is a notebook full of major events, some personal/familial in nature, others more generally so—from the death of his father-in-law to his first trip to Cuba, to other travels (London & Edinburgh, the former to read with one of his favorite poets, Fanny Howe), to time spent in LA and Honolulu, to a trip with his son who was beginning his graduate work in screenwriting at USC, to a reading of Adam Levine's gigantic novel The Instructions, to a second trip to Havana in which the government (Cuban) applied pressure which caused Lazer to cancel a scheduled jazz-poetry concert, to the devastating tornado that struck Tuscaloosa killing more than fifty people and destroying large parts of the city and the surrounding countryside.
Hank Lazer has published thirty-three books of poetry, including field recordings of mind in morning (2021, BlazeVOX - with 15 music-poetry tracks with Holland Hopson on banjo - available from Bandcamp), COVID 19 SUTRAS (2020, Lavender Ink), SLOWLY BECOMING AWAKE (N32) (2019, Dos Madres Press), POEMS THAT LOOK JUST LIKE POEMS (2019, PURH - one volume in English, one in French), Evidence of Being Here: Beginning in Havana (N27), (2018, Negative Capability Press), THINKING IN JEWISH (N20) (2017, Lavender Ink). Lazer has performed jazz-poetry improvisations in the US and Cuba with musicians Davey Williams, Omar Pérez, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Holland Hopson, and others. Lazer's Brush Mind books have been transformed into video installations and performances in several art gallery venues. In 2015, Lazer received Alabama's most prestigious literary prize, the Harper Lee Award, for lifetime achievement in literature. Lazer has been quarantining in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and at Duncan Farm in Carrollton, Alabama. Hank Lazer's website is: https://www.hanklazer.com