What Looks Like An Elephant

Title: What Looks Like An Elephant
: Edward Nudelman
Genre: Poetry, Trade Paper, 6X9
Publisher: Lummox Press (PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733-5301) www.lummoxpress.com
ISBN: 978-1-929878-91-8

Publishing Date: April 2011

Watch Edward Nudelman read selections here or here

Voted second best Poetry Book of the Year
by the Indie Lit Awards!!!

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The book contains over 80 poems dealing with ambiguities and paradoxes in experience, especially how impressions of certainty and doubt affect everyday life. Ed calls on influences in his vocation (he is a cancer research scientist) as well as child and adolescent memories, mixed in with some humor and poetic metaphor.  


Edward Nudelmanís first book of poetry, "Night Fires," was a semifinalist for the Journal Award ("The Wheeler Prize) given by OSU Press in 2009. "Night Fires" was published by Pudding House Publications in 2009. "Casting the Nines," an anthology of nine poets with nine poems (PHP, 2009) honored Nudelman as one of nine selected poets contributing poems. He received a Pushcart Nomination in 2009. Some of his poems have been recently published in Chiron Review, Poets and Artists (Oranges and Sardines), Ampersand, Syntax, The Atlanta Review, OCHO, Mipoesias, Plainsongs, Tears in the Fence, fourW, Floating Bridge Press, The Orange Room Review, The Penwood Review, The White Leaf Review, Adagio Verse Quarterly, and others. Nudelman is a noted cancer research biologist with over 60 published papers in top-tier journals. He has published two widely read books on an American illustrator, Jessie Willcox Smith (Pelican Publishing, 1989, 1990).  A native of Seattle, Nudelman is currently working and living just north of Boston with his wife, Susan, and their Golden Retriever, Sofie.


Edward Nudelmanís delicious use of math and science language and metaphors combined with his sense of humor and seemingly limitless curiosity; his capacity to surprise the reader with juxtapositions and acute observationsÖand the sheer loveliness of so many linesÖmake this a book to re-read, to share with friends and family, and to return to for inspiration, discovery, comfort, and fun.

April Ossmann
Poet, independent editor, and former director of Alice James Books

I, too, was "blown away by it." For me this means that I was also astonished by the vivid and precise imagery, the tension between subjective human doubt and so-called 'objective' scientific certainty, as well as the depth of memories of extended consciousness over a lifetime, in Ed Nudelman's first full-length book, WHAT LOOKS LIKE AN ELEPHANT...

John Walker

Here are a few poems from this volume...

An Element of Blank


That elephant

thudding at your inner
ear, bellowing doubt.


Squeezed into a corner,

jaws clenched against
the hammer's dull pounding

and servitude.


Is that you,

or a laboratory mouse

running for the exit?


You can work with simple math,
but these infinite sets

and imaginary numbers,

these forays into the surreal.

Everything equates to zero.


Yet tonight, the pins

are in someone else's arm.

The cat purrs herself to sleep

and frogs fade into starry silence.


You breathe open rooms,

inhale limitless space

without grimace or wail.



Closet Poet


Through a crack in my barricaded door, I can see

researchers lifting hands, exultant.  They swarm around

a blinking machine, twiddling an instrument whose sole

purpose is to spew numbers in linear lines by the reams.  

I should rejoice with them.  How many, how long,

how perfect these number series appear.  Dazzling

combinations and iterations for hypothetical models.  

Soon theyíll try to persuade me; soon Iíll be told

nothing is something.  Iíll be offered correlations

and compelling data and probably a few lyrics

from some deadhead song.  I know they mean

well, swimming laps in the same choppy sea

of discovery Iím supposed to lead them through-

but right now another research project supersedes.

Iím filtering white noise, holing up and hunkering

down in my bunker, closing the door, and locking it.



Gorilla Flower


A breach reveals a purplish bud

as pristine as the snow surrounding it.

Maybe it landed in August, or fell off

an iris gliding across four backyards. 

It might have dropped from a birdís

feather or it could have been there all

along, beating its pretty regal chest

in the vast white jungle, just as you do

when only the impossible matters

and only the impossible happens.



Value Central


On Saturday mornings

my wife sometimes drags

me along as a scout

on her thrift store forays.


And thereís one shop

that rises above the rest

to which Iím entreated

and bribed to accompany.


I donít know why.  Iíve never

found anything there, though

Iíve made many suggestions,

all courteously snubbed.


Itís a big shop with plenty

of smiling helpers.  Itís for

profit, though I canít figure

out how thatís possible.


Everythingís marked down

75% off, including single

spoons and forks, a bargain

at only a quarter each.


Near what appears to be

the back of the store

a huge white drape

partitions two rooms.


On my last visit

I resolved to break into

the hidden room to see

what treasures it held.


But I was cautioned

and gently pushed back

by a courteous teenager

in a Grateful Dead T-shirt.


Now I ask to tag

along whenever she goes,

positioning myself near cut

glass and the curtainís edge.


Iím just a disinterested party

looking for a bargain.

I try to look nonchalant.

I try not to sneeze.