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Poetry

Shulamis Yelin, 1913 - 2002

Shulamis Yelin came into my life at my grandmother's shiva. With auburn hair, bright pink lipstick and a multi-colored patchwork jacket, she didn't look like any other "old" person who had come to pay her respects and clearly that's the way she liked it. She didn't talk in hushed tones and she didn't say false things like "it's going to get better." After the minyan was over she asked me to walk her home. She did this like a girl of sixteen offering to take her girlfriend out for milkshakes to save her from too much family and too much death.

Adele Margolis, 1909 - 2009

On a frigid day last February I went to the Weston (Massachusetts) Public Library to hear my friend Adele Margolis. She was reading poems from her collection, Sometimes I Forget That I Am Old, which she published privately last fall. Because it came out at about the time one of her classic books on sewing was reissued, she has been busy with a little flurry of readings, book parties, and interviews. All in all, a satisfying way to spend the months leading up to her 98th birthday.

Grace Paley, 1922 - 2007

Growing up in New York, casting about for a way to become a Jewish woman I could be proud of, I was inspired again and again by Grace Paley. As an aspiring writer, I savored her remarkable stories – gems that captured and reflected the light, the humor, the heart, spirit and language of mid-20th century Jewish New York, a world that was fading even in my youth. I was deeply grateful to this writer I did not know for preserving in such vivid form that world I loved.

Adding Irena Klepfisz to the Canon

In women’s studies classes, we spend a lot of time talking about power: who has it, who doesn’t, and how it moves. Power matters in literature, too, since those in power are the ones who shape the canons – the defined sets of literary works that represent a particular field. 

Growing tensions I: Black-Jewish Relations

Analyze how underlying rifts in the relationship between African Americans and Jews brought these groups into more overt conflict in the late 1960s, with a focus on the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school crisis and a poetry slam activity.

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry

In The Life of Poetry, Muriel Rukeyser declares, “I wish to say that we will not be saved by poetry. But poetry is the type of creation in which we may live and which will save us.”

Emma Lazarus

One of the first successful Jewish American authors, Lazarus was part of the late nineteenth century New York literary elite and was recognized in her day as an important American poet. In her later years, she wrote bold, powerful poetry and essays protesting the rise of antisemitism and arguing for Russian immigrants' rights. She called on Jews to unite and create a homeland in Palestine before the title Zionist had even been coined.

Art, justice, and Adrienne Rich

Here we are, poised on the edge of a "holiday weekend" in which we celebrate America's independence through those ever-meaningful traditions of barbeque, fireworks, and shopping sales.

The Klezmatics' performance of Aliza Greenblatt's work, set to music by Woody Guthrie

December 20, 2003

"Holy Ground: The Jewish Songs of Woody Guthrie," a Klezmatics performance at the 92nd Street Y, featured songs inspired or written by Guthrie's mother-in-law, Aliza Greenblatt.

Birth of poet Muriel Rukeyser

December 15, 1913

Birth of poet and activist Muriel Rukeyser.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Poetry." (Viewed on December 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/poetry>.

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