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He Claims He Is the Direct Heir by Lazar Sarna

Finalist for The A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry in 2006


Lazar Sarna’s He Claims He Is the Direct Heir introduces a new tone of voice into Canadian poetry. It is wry and droll, an unexpected melange of Jewish humour and Surrealism. Sarna’s terse lyrics often have the crackle of a good joke, though usually with grim undertones. The voice often grates and is surprisingly scratchy but then, a covert lyricism breaks through. In his best poems, which jar like a wisecrack at a shiva, he seems to be jesting through gritted teeth. His world is at once homely and weird; its oddity unsettles just because we know it so well.

He Claims He Is the Direct Heir tells the reader about the richness of heritage. This is a voyage of the exotic right at home.

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