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Poetry

Paley’s Power on the Daily

Last year, my AP English class read the short prose poem “Mother” by Grace Paley. What struck me the most was its mundane nature. This is a characteristic of nearly all of Paley’s work; she wrote in detail about the daily lives of women—a topic that, when she was writing in the 1940’s, was viewed as tangential to the “real” work of male authors writing bestsellers like The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) or The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton). 

Lazarus’ Lessons

Emma Lazarus was a 19th century Jewish American writer whose poem “The New Colossus,” engraved on Lady Liberty’s platform, embraces immigrants as they enter the United States. Though she was from an upper class family, Lazarus defied societal restrictions and norms and dared others to do the same.

Idra Novey

Through her poetry, translation, and fiction, Idra Novey relishes playing in the space between languages.

The Birthday of the World

As we say goodbye to 5777 and come together at the start of 5778, Marge Piercy’s poem “The Birthday of the World” has been resonating through the halls of JWA. Like Piercy, we’re asking ourselves: How have we worked to make change this past year? What have we dared? What will we do in the coming year to further justice, to speak out and take a stand?

Rokhl Häring Korn

Driven to learn Yiddish in response to anti-Semitism, Rokhl Häring Korn went on to become a major figure in Yiddish literature.

Feiga Izrailevna Kogan

A prolific poet in her own right, Feiga Izrailevna Kogan used her deft translations of Hebrew literature to bring Jewish and Israeli culture to a Russian audience.

Judith Herzberg

Judith Herzberg has been hailed as one of the greatest living Dutch poets for her ability to imbue everyday objects with unexpected meaning.

Penelope’s Feminist Odyssey

Throughout The Odyssey, Penelope, Odysseus' wife, is characterized as constant, virtuous, and patient. She’s seen as the epitome of faithful wifeliness for her refusal to marry a suitor and for her belief that Odysseus will return. Her character is two-dimensional and, for the most part, irrelevant to Odysseus' escapades. 

Michal Govrin

As the child of a Holocaust survivor, Michal Govrin has used her writing to open a broader conversation about the enduring legacy of the Holocaust.

Writing a Revolutionary

Authors are often asked about the inspiration behind their books. Usually, that question is a tricky one to answer. But in the case of my historical novel for young adults, Audacity, it’s easy. The life of labor activist Clara Lemlich was all the inspiration I needed.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Poetry." (Viewed on November 17, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/poetry>.

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