Grace Wells on Jewtown by Simon Lewis: writing a people back into Irish history

Jewtown’s importance lies in the poetry’s quality, immortalising an almost-forgotten part of Irish history and telling us so much about the immigrant experience

Simon Lewis: “As with the very best works of art,” writes Grace Wells, “Jewtown finds a way to say the unsayable, to communicate the incommunicable, and to leave us holding provocative and uncomfortable truths that we are able to bear because they are stitched together with the gilt thread of Simon’s poetic art”

Simon Lewis: “As with the very best works of art,” writes Grace Wells, “Jewtown finds a way to say the unsayable, to communicate the incommunicable, and to leave us holding provocative and uncomfortable truths that we are able to bear because they are stitched together with the gilt thread of Simon’s poetic art”

Firstly I want to say how very honoured I feel to be launching Simon’s beautiful book, Jewtown. Honoured and moved.

This isn’t an ordinary collection of poems, it’s a very special, very rare book. I’ve been at so many launches where someone has grandly said: “this is an important book”, and I’ve inwardly cringed. But I genuinely believe that this is an important book. Its importance lies in three things, firstly: in the quality of its poetry, secondly: that this book recreates and immortalises an almost-forgotten part of Irish history, and thirdly because Jewtown tells us so much about the immigrant experience.

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