These poems uncover the music in the names of streets in San Francisco, in the controlled passion of jazz rhythms, and the mystery of female sexuality, using chant-rhythm beats to create diaphanous layers of harmony and meaning.
Collisions and Transformations reads like a wind chime. In the section, “Street Bleats,” poems influenced by Gertrude Stein take us on a language and sound journey down the streets of San Francisco. In the last section, “Alive,” fish heads, jay-walking, and postcards become vehicles for a confirmations of the poet’s commitment to change and transformation, to the ability of words to rise and stir. In poems that in turn sing loudly, and hum inwardly, Collisions and Transformations explores with an enchanting musical quality relationship to family, society and spirituality.
“Simon is full of solemn tenderness, an ordered pain, giving dignity to our transience. How often do a poet’s words sniggle and soothe, teach and proposition you to feel?” —Ntozake Shange
“No matter what the subject, [Simon’s] writing is robust, clear, in control.” —Yellow Silk
“Leslie Simon’s poetry is made of the perpetual motion of rachmones (Yiddish for “compassion”) as it is nourished by the African-American dimension in working-class life.” —Jack Hirschman
“These are wonderful poems, fresh and original, with serious content as well as humor and charm.” —Nancy Peters, City Lights Books