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Poetry

Yiddish poetry: It's not just for men!

Most people believe that Yiddish literature and poetry was written solely by men. In reality, there were hundreds of female Yiddish writers and poets, all of whom had their own distinct biographies and writing styles.

Edith Kaplan Bregman was one of these women. She was born in a Russian shtetl in 1899 to a Hasidic family, immigrating to New York when she was 13. In America, she was exposed to literature that hadn’t been available in Europe, so she became a voracious reader. Bregman went on to write poetry in her native tongue, Yiddish. Her love of language led her to meet many Yiddish literary giants, like Avrom Reyzen, a poet who became her mentor. While she wrote poems throughout her early life, her works weren’t published until 1939, when a Yiddish newspaper had a poetry contest that she entered and won. Her victory gave her the confidence to publish more of her written work. Some of the themes that recur throughout her poems are a love of Judaism and God, life in Europe, and Holocaust remembrance. In addition to writing poetry, Bregman sang and played the mandolin and piano. Bregman’s last poem was published in 1997, a few years before her death at age 99.

How To Make Matzo Brei

It has to be Sunday morning,
not just any Sunday morning
the Sunday morning of Passover

Matzoh

Matzoh

Liberation in poetry: Who Knows One

It should be easy to speak praise at a time of liberation. It is not.

Passover Poetry: Giving Miriam her song

In recent years, Miriam has become regular presence at the Passover table.  For some she is there in the form of Miriam’s cup, a ritual addition to the Passover Seder created by Jewish feminists. For others, she is invoked through Debbie Friedman’s joyous song, an occasion, at many seders, for women to sing and dance, continuing or reexperiencing the celebration of freedom, led by Miriam, upon crossing the Red Sea.   

Passover Poetry: Studying the Mundane and Holy Terrain

Living as a poet means you are acutely attuned to the voices within, you seek to listen, to discern the words that best capture your own inner truth.

Passover poetry: Re-telling the story of our own lives

National Poetry Month officially began yesterday. It is not altogether clear why the Academy of American Poets chose April as the month to celebrate poets and poetry.

A poem for Adrienne

Another Obituary

 

Adrienne Rich: navigating hope

The news of Adrienne Rich’s death yesterday at age 82 sent me immediately to my bookshelves and an extended swim through the currents of words she has left behind. All writers believe in the power of words—and maybe especially poets, whose words are fewer and so carefully chosen—but for me Rich’s writing particularly and persuasively argued for the ability of words, language, expression to create new realities, to change the world.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Poetry." (Viewed on August 4, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/poetry>.

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