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Tel

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The way forward is... a beautiful, three part poem which tells a story of loss and hope.

"Your body caught in a wave
Turning you over in the thick brine"


In archaeology, a tel (Hebrew for 'hill' or 'mound') is a mound formed by generations of people living in the same place for hundreds and thousands of years. Whilst, 'Aviv' is Hebrew for 'spring'. Thus, Karlan's three part poem seeks to interweave the history of the individuals in Tel Aviv and follow the path of renewal.


Karlan moves fluidly between the personal and the public; focusing on the way an individual deals with heartache, loss and the pursuit of happiness. Each part begins with 'The way forward' so although Karlan is exploring the past, the driving force behind each line is the future and what it may be like when you get there.


"In the bright morning in Tel Aviv
A woman brings death onto a bus"


The poem does not shy away from honesty either. Tel Aviv promises to be a city of renewal but it has witnessed death and conflict too. Karlan recognises how this forms a part of all the residents' lives - how life is immeasurably changed by our actions and the actions of others.


"True love appears small
Like a mother's hand"


Yet, there is hope throughout. Each part is beautifully written with allusions to faith, belief, love and everyday life. Many moments are nostalgic and sweep you up into the cradling arms of excellent poetry.


Karlan has successfully told a story which is limited to a city but embraces the world and humanity at large. The words can find a home in anyone willing to read and listen to ages as they build and fall, and begin again.

Reviewed by

I am a writer, editor and English teacher based in the UK. I have self-published two poetry collections (Between the Trees and Flowers on the Wall). I enjoy reviewing poetry, short stories, literary fiction and historical fiction as well as working as a freelance editor and proofreader.

About the author

Lawyer in NYC, formerly a professor of Humanities (Ph.D., Columbia). view profile

Published on October 30, 2019

Published by Lulu

0-1000 words

Genre: Poetry

Reviewed by