Postcards to Grandad – a Family Romance

eyeglass books is pleased to announce the launch of its first publication

By Phil Cohen

With typo/graphic scatterings  from John Wallett

“…a bold experiment in what happens when a writer and an artist  from different backgrounds  combine creative forces to tell the  story of  a diasporic journey  across generations and cultures , in which recurrent elements of tragedy and farce interact  with  the contingencies of shifting  places and times “.     

Published by eyeglass books April 2019 40 pages  ISBN 978-1-9164719-2-4     

In this prose poem Phil Cohen explores the ‘other scenes’ of his family history, the stories he was nottold about where he came from. Many of them were about the mysterious, and in his eyes romantic, figure of his father’s father, a Jewish revolutionary  from Vitebsk who emigrated to live in the  Glasgow Gorbals during the period of Red Clydeside before and after the 1st World war.. 

The narrative  draws  on elements of this family romance, supplemented by what  was later learnt about the  grandfather’s actual   life, and meshed in with aspects of the author’s own biography . Through this interleaving of stories , in which elements of fact and fantasy become merged,  Cohen  sets out to  examine his complicated  heritage as a ‘mitschling’.

The text is accompanied by a scattering of graphics from  John Wallett. These are not illustrations  so much as typo/graphical asides upon the narrative themes, supplementaries with a skew of meaning inn their own write.

“ A troubled yet exuberant vignette of imagined selfhood, inside out to the world and history , in which old age and boyhood form a circling dance of inheritance, suffering and survival” 

– Les Bell ( author of Archipelagos and founder of Mica Press) 

“Phil Cohen takes us on a poetic journey into some of the complexities of Jewish diasporic identity,past and present .On the way he explores the intersections, both personal  and politicalof class, gender and ethnicity which continue to shape the way we live now”

Nira Yuval Davis (Israeli Diasporic Jew,  Emeritus Professor of Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London)