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The initial word of the thirteenth-century poet Yosef Gikatilla’s Hebrew title (Ginat Egoz—The Garden of Nuts) stands for Gematria (numerology), Notarikon (acronymns or acrostics), and Temurah (permutation of the letters, as in anagrams). The implication of this acronym is that the esoteric manipulation of letters is like a garden wherein ultimate nourishment can be found. A case in point is the shift from “east” to “eats,” where wisdom and knowledge of the mystical teachings lead one into the heart of a given word, where the secrets of existence lie. The play isn’t, in fact, in the Hebrew, but the English here presents an opportunity to account for the sort of anagrammatic permutation that runs through so much of this work.


This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2012

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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