REVIEW: Jay Brickman’s Latest Book of “Poetry Doodles” with Art by Jo Anna Poehlmann

Door County’s favorite Rabbi, Jay Brickman has created a delightful pocket-sized book of tasty morsels, much like a box of Fannie May Chocolates that I can’t keep from dipping into again and again.

cover-300Rabbi Jay Brickman is a frequent speaker in Door County, spending summers at his Ellison Bay home for more than thirty years. He teaches a popular summer course in Biblical history each year in Ephraim at the Unitarian Fellowship. In the off-season he returns to his own congregation in Milwaukee. From the contents of his latest published work, it is apparent that he is always observing and taking notes on the status of life.

He calls his observations “poetry doodles” and emphasizes the relationship by partnering with artist Jo Anna Poehlmann in the publication of his latest book. Poetry Doodles – a blend of thoughtful insights enhanced with numerous pen and ink drawing and typography enhancements. You can dip into it anywhere, much like a box of chocolates and pull out a treat or a thought-provoking short take on life as Brickman sees or lives it.

Several people have shared the thought that this is the perfect book to keep beside the bed, handy for calling up a thought with which to begin or end the day. My friend Del Close used to describe this habit as, “book divination… just open it to any page, then read and let the book speak to you about the now.”

Here’s a random example, testing Del’s theory using Poetry Doodles…page 62 starts off with, “Please do not share with me esoteric doctrine; I find dealing with the ordinary sufficiently complex.” Another try… “To succeed in dieting one must limit the goal of taking off weight to a single pound.”

Short, simple and often profound, this bright yellow book with the raccoon mascot on the cover has only one flaw. Much like that box of chocolates, you may regret gobbling it up too quickly wishing there were more. If gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins pervades your life, Brickman provides the answer: “One is not a sinner for having sinned, only for having sinned and slept soundly.”

The book’s motto graces the Poetry Doodles Facebook Fan Page, “Life is complex. Wisdom comes in many shapes and sizes.” Readers are encouraged to stop by online and share their own poetry doodles. Rumor has it they may be combined with Brickman’s own doodles in the next volume. In any case, you can download a free Poetry Doodles Sampler containing several pages of the original book if you “Like” it…

Poetry Doodles is available at your local bookstore or online at

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