Simple Exercises is a deeply personal collection of poems by Czech-born Australian poet Josef A Tomáš. Spanning over 40 years of the poet’s life, from his early days as a refugee in Australia to his later years, these emotive poems capture singular moments and reflect on universal themes of love, loss, belonging, death, and the divine.
Many of the poems originated on Tomáš’ daily train journeys, observing his fellow passengers and translating the rhythms of travel into poetic meditations. Other poems are grounded in vivid sensory detail: the texture of a cold day, the sound of a soprano filling a concert hall, the sight of autumn leaves falling. Underlying much of the collection is a profound connection to music and an acute sensitivity to fleeting yet powerful epiphanies in everyday life.
Simple Exercises charts the evolution of a poetic voice through quiet transformations, from a young man cut off from his native culture to an elder poet at one with the universe inside him. Tomáš distils wonder, grief, hope and insight into delicate poems that reward quiet contemplation.