Author: Marvin Orbach
Trade Paperback: 66 pages
Suggested Retail (Paperback): $18.95
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It was with much pleasure and reverence that I accepted the request by Richard Grove, Publisher of Hidden Brook Press, to write a foreword to Redwing, a provocative jewel of poems written by Marvin Orbach. The book was thoroughly and lovingly compiled by his daughter, Ariella.
As I stepped into the man and his work, the first thing that impressed me was that Orbach, known to be very modest, had never told anyone about his poems: it was his wife, Grabriella, who found them after his passing. Ariella herself said once that her “dad was very humble”. That makes Orbach an even greater librarian, book collector, poet and person. His formidable legacy of books and his passionate poetry honorably contribute to the already vast Canadian cultural mosaic.
My usual approach to writing a foreword starts with skimming the work to get into the mood and style of the material. In the case of this book I changed that procedure as soon as I started reading by jotting down notes as I flipped through the pages outlining my first-read impressions. Orbach’s book has been divided in the four seasons, in the order of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. As a whole I found the book to be a fine collection of thirty poems whose center is light, sometimes witty critique about social issues, and nature.
Before setting Orbach´s wings free, I want to talk to you about the solid synergy of the book that makes it a singularly self-standing gem. The poet´s spirit transpires in ways that you will take notice of as you finish reading it, full. There is variety in theme, tempo and style in Redwing, and what such richness does is to contribute to the wholeness of the book. You can sense it; you can see it when you are lit by “True Happiness”, the closing poem, and then you are carried back by the very bird to “Introduction”, the opening one. You will enjoy the back-and- forth flight, I assure you that.
With this foreword I share with you my feelings about the poems as independent units. Each of them left an indelible imprint that accompanies me yet refuses to sit just there. So, I must pour that out with a critique of a number of the poems. Allow me on this journey.
The poem “Introduction” is Orbach´s showcase summary of his fondness for nature, which he describes with the depth of a connoisseur and the passion of a lover. You will be then confronted with the opposite in the next lines: Orbach´s disapproval of those who spoil the beauty of the scenes he has just depicted. The imparting of the poet’s understanding to the “fools” is related to their being unable to see the harmony of natural life and act senselessly. To the poet, however, that reality has been revealed, and he will powerfully present it to those fools in his poetry.
Orbach´s daughter has given us an outstanding compilation of her father’s poetry. She put into it her love, insight and endless admiration for a man who chose to have a low profile, yet left for us a huge patrimony that shall not go unnoticed. His collecting and writing hobbies are treasures now.
Don’t forget to open the book always following his instructions to Ariella when she would sit and read from his collection: “not to open the volumes too wide”. Rise and glide then with the redwing, dear reader, it will be a flight to remember
Miguel Ángel Olivé Iglesias PhD
Associate Professor, University of Holguín, Cuba
President of the Canada Cuba Literary Alliance (Cuban)