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The Concealment of Endless Light

poems by Yehoshua November


*Available for pre-order*


Orison Books
paper  /  88 pp.  /  $18.00
ISBN:  978-1-949039-50-4

Distributed to the trade by Itasca Books
952-223-8373  /
Publication Date: September 3, 2024





The third poetry collection from Yehoshua November, whose previous books have been finalists for The National Jewish Book Award, The Paterson Poetry Prize, and The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, extends the marriage of mysticism and everyday life that has become November's signature and particular strength as a poet. As Ilya Kaminsky puts it, "In the same breath, he describes a soul's journey and eating breakfast with his children." Whether considering the trajectory of his marriage, the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting, the paradoxes of mystical Chassidic teachings, or an email from his grandfather when the poet was 18, November's poems never fail to penetrate beyond the surface to the mystery underlying the full spectrum of human experience.




"Elegantly crafted, beautifully philosophical, and passionately devoted to exploring the profundity of earthly life, The Concealment of Endless Light chronicles a quest for the divine amid the ordinary. Never holier-than-thou, the speaker in November’s poems is always conscious of the ways he’s failed his family, himself, and his God. Nonetheless, he persists in reaching out to the divine to illuminate the experiences of a soul in a body."

Maria Mazziotti Gillan


"How does Yehoshua November do it? How does he balance the lofty and mundane with such grace? This remarkable poet finds mystery in kitchens and hardware stores, dry cleaners and classrooms. In the same breath, he describes a soul's journey and eating breakfast with his children. In this world of ours where human beings do horrible things to each other, November looks for souls inside bodies. Certainly, that gives him a perspective on our species. But there is something else, too. Mystics have been trying to 'nail' this something for generations, to name it. November answers this metaphysical challenge—he names the unnamable—via his skillful use of figurative language. But there is more, yet. Friends, these days in our country, we go to school to learn to make sentences and to divide and multiply numbers. But where can we learn awe and wonderment? The answer is November’s humane and deeply searching poems. He has a wisdom which is necessary if one is to travel from one day to the next. November is one of our most brilliant Jewish American poets of this moment."

—Ilya Kaminsky


"A wonderful poet with a unique vision and distinct voice, Yehoshua November opens worlds within worlds. In The Concealment of Endless Light, he describes poetry as 'that profession of rowing / through the rivers of the heart / with oars made of memory / and sadness,' though in his case memory and speculation are illuminated by the daily wakings of a father and husband scratching out a living as a teacher and backlit by the soul, despite 'a Divine concealment whose diameter is greater / than infinity.' In a moving poem about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, November gathers the dead around him on a street where the 'Jews of Pittsburgh / stand in the rain / holding candles' while 'eleven souls ascend to the region of mystery / then swoop down to hover, incandescently, over their former lives,' consecrating a place where 'no one can explain how [the body] limps forward / but has not faltered.' Neither does this poet falter, but moves forward with dignity and grace."

—Dorianne Laux




Yehoshua November is the author of God's Optimism, a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Two Worlds Exist, a finalist for The National Jewish Book Award and The Paterson Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Sun, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review, and on NPR and Poetry Unbound. November teaches writing at Rutgers University and Touro University.




Notes on the Soul



Like one descending

the stairs to the supply room

for a paperclip

but pausing

beneath the door frame,

a soul enters

a particular body

and cannot

remember why.




If there is no such thing as a soul

my blue-haired student,

who said she’d never have a child,

wrote in her notebook—

then how does my mother know,

from hundreds of miles away,

when I am sad?




Part of the soul

resides inside

the body,

which resides inside

the world—

the way the memory

of a kiss

circles in the mind

of a prisoner

walking laps

around the prison courtyard.

The Concealment of Endless Light, poems by Yehoshua November

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