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Poetry

Elaine Feinstein

Feinstein is the author of a dozen books of poetry, five biographies, three books of translations of poetry and fourteen novels.

Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight was born in New York on May 2, 1931, the daughter of a British father and an American mother with Russian-Jewish ancestry. In 1946 she settled in England, where she studied at colleges of art in Birmingham and Brighton. She married the writer Alan Sillitoe in 1959. The couple have one son and one daughter. Although a successful writer of short stories, a dramatist/librettist and translator, she is best known for her poetry, whose modern style blends subtle image-making with toughness of expression.

Marcia Falk

Marcia Falk is a poet, translator and liturgist whose knowledge of the Bible and of Hebrew and English literature informs the feminist spiritual vision present in her work. A practicing artist who brings a painter’s sense of visual imagery and balance to her writing, she is currently working on oil pastels to accompany passages from her books.

Elisheva Bichovsky

Elisheva Bichovsky was a Russian poet and author who wrote in Hebrew. Elisheva, as she signed her work, was born Elizaveta Zhirkova in Riazan (Rayzan, 186 km SE of Moscow). Her father Ivan Zharkov, a village teacher who later became a publisher of textbooks, belonged to the Provoslavic Church, while her mother came from an Irish Catholic family whose patriarch had made his way to Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. After her mother died when Elisheva was three years old, she was raised by her mother’s sister in Moscow surrounded by English language and culture. There, she graduated from a girls’ high school and in 1910 trained as a teacher.

Celia Dropkin

The explicitly sexual imagery and themes of Celia Dropkin’s poems redefined the ways modern Yiddish poetry could depict relationships between women and men. Beautifully crafted lyrics, Dropkin’s poems undo the poetic conventions implicit in their very forms and, with their anger and passion, call into question societal assumptions about love. These poems open up a woman’s psyche in a voice that sounds contemporary in the 1990s. Even her poems about depression, about mother love, and about nature are infused with erotic energy. Best known for her poetry, Dropkin also published short stories and was an accomplished visual artist.

Sophia Dubnow-Erlich

Although the Jewish academic community has typically cast her as either the daughter of the historian Simon Dubnow or the wife of the Bundist leader Henryk Erlich, Sophia Dubnow-Erlich was in fact a poet, political activist, critic, translator, and memoirist in her own right. Her literary corpus tells the remarkable story of one Eastern European Jewish woman’s entry into two very disparate spheres of activity. Over a lifetime spanning 101 years (forty-four years spent in the United States), Dubnow-Erlich engaged in Jewish socialist party politics, on the one hand, and Russian Silver Age poetry, on the other.

Selina Dolaro

A woman of gusto and talent, Selina Simmons Belasco Dolaro was an exceptional performer and single mother in late nineteenth-century England and America. Through her income from singing, dancing, acting and writing, she raised and supported four children.

Lucie Domeier

As a young woman Lucie Domeier (born Esther Gad) probably led a traditional Jewish life. Born in Breslau circa 1767, she married a merchant, Bernard, and bore two children—a son, Jonas, in c. 1791, and a daughter, Jeanette, in 1795. However, we soon find signs of her in the world of educated women, writers and philosophers.

Stella Drabkin

In her 1938 self-portrait, Stella Drabkin depicts herself with extraordinarily large eyes, widened to take in the world. Some thirty years later, in a haiku to accompany the multitype Birds of Prey, she wrote, “The eye of the eagle sees what you do not … aware as the artist.” The application of the artist’s eye was the constant in Stella Drabkin’s varied undertakings as painter, printmaker, mosaicist, and author.

Esther Dischereit

Esther Dischereit’s childhood and indeed her entire life were marked by her mother’s survival in hiding together with a daughter, born in 1937, from her first marriage. After the war, her mother married a German physician and had two daughters, of whom Esther, born in 1952 in Heppenheim in southern Hesse, was the younger. Her parents divorced when Esther was seven and the children lived with their mother, who saw to it that they were instructed in Jewish religion and customs. They attended Hebrew School at the Jewish Community in Darmstadt, participating in the Purim plays, and on Friday evenings an Orthodox rabbi came to their home. When Esther was fourteen her mother died and the children lived with the father and his new family, including a half-brother and half-sister, in a small town in northern Hesse. Esther developed rapidly. She completed gymnasium (high school) in record time and attended university briefly, “fleeing” from it because there were “too many superfluous words” (Gelebte Zeit…, 144). After getting a degree in education she wanted to become a teacher since “children are all that counted for me” (Übungen jüdisch…, 199). Her first book was a children’s book. But she had come of age with the rebellious generation of 1968 and had been active in the “red cells.” This precluded a career in a public school. She apprenticed as a typesetter and worked for several years in print shops, playing an active role in the trade union. She lives in Berlin with her two daughters and holds a position with the German Trade Union Federation.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Poetry." (Viewed on July 7, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/poetry>.

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