Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight’s poetry interweaves her feminism and elements of Judaism with highly symbolic language. The daughter of a British father and an American mother, Fainlight immigrated to Britain in 1946, studying at colleges of art in Birmingham and Brighton before settling in London. She published her first poetry collection, Cages, in 1966, the same year she and her husband co-translated Lope de Vega’s All Citizens Are Soldiers from Spanish. Along with translating various works from Spanish, Portuguese, and French, Fainlight published two short story collections and three libretti, but is best known for her forceful, oblique poetry, in which she addresses the potent issues of her feminist and Jewish identities through symbols and icons like the moon, ancient sibyls, yellow stars sewn on clothing, and biblical figures. As of 2010, she published fifteen collections of poems; Sugar-Paper Blue was shortlisted for the 1998 Whitbread Poetry Prize. Fainlight was poet in residence at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee in 1985 and 1990, and served as poetry editor for European Judaism. In 2007, she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Topics: Feminism, Poetry

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Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Fainlight ." (Viewed on August 7, 2020) <>.


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