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Poetry

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Apples and honey

High Holiday Poems

by Maia Evrona

Exclusively for JWA, poet Maia Evrona shares two poems for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Audre Lorde, Meridel Lesueur, and Adrienne Rich, 1980

Poetry as Protest: Adrienne Rich Fought for All Women

by Abigail Glickman

Rich once said, “In a time of frontal assaults both on language and on human solidarity, poetry can remind us of all we are in danger of losing–disturb us, embolden us out of resignation.” In other words, poetry has the power to express the things that unite us all as humans and can inspire us to work together toward a common goal.

Evelyn Torton Beck

Evelyn Torton Beck: An Intersectional Role Model

by Shira Minsk

Beck’s acknowledgment that Jewish lesbians had a unique struggle for acceptance and belonging in the feminist, lesbian, and Jewish communities was a radical move. She fought for more recognition and validation by feminist activists and lesbian activists, who she felt did not take her work seriously.

Judge Judy

Judge Judy: Poetry Muse

by Jen Karetnick

Exclusively for JWA, Jen Karetnick shares two of her poems about everyone’s favorite Judge: Judy.

Topics: Television, Law, Poetry
American Yiddish writers and poets, New York, 1920s.

Celia Dropkin’s Poetry

by Maia Evrona

Exclusively for JWA, Maia Evrona shares two translations of Celia Dropkin’s poetry, classics within the canon of Yiddish literature.

Topics: Poetry
Caitlin Wolper Cover Crop

Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv

by Caitlin Wolper

Caitlin Wolper’s first poetry collection, Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv, is a powerful account of a young Jewish woman’s first trip to Israel. In this chapbook, Wolper powerfully grapples with themes of gender, identity, and “the leash of Israel’s legacy.” Exclusively for JWA, Wolper reflects on her inspiration and creative process for two selected poems.

Topics: Poetry
Fruit Geode Book Cover

Alicia Jo Rabins On Her New Poetry Collection, "Fruit Geode"

by Alicia Jo Rabins

Alicia Jo Rabins’s second poetry collection, Fruit Geode, is a searingly personal account of making the transition to motherhood as a Jewish woman in the early years of the millenium. Exclusively for JWA, Rabins reflects on her inspiration and creative process for two selected poems.

New American Best Friend

Ode to Slam Poetry

by Josephine Rosman

I’ve always been in love with words. As long as I can remember, I’ve read everything and anything I could get my hands on. My love for stories turned me into a storyteller. However, my writing used to always be about hypotheticals and was firmly entrenched in the fiction genre. My protagonists tended to be straight, white, Christian people, because they’re mostly who you see in literature. 

Topics: Fiction, Poetry
Students at the Library circa 1910s

To Women Writing Bravely

by Devon Spier

By coming to know our foremothers, we are actually coming to know ourselves and by taking up the weight of the pen and writing our own story, we are freeing all women, then and now. For women’s stories are the keys to our collective liberation. To all the women writing bravely today, I dedicate this piece.

Topics: Poetry
 Lesléa Newman Author Photo

The Lovely Lesléa Newman

by Emily Cataneo

Are there any boundaries that Lesléa Newman hasn’t broken? In 1989, she made headlines and history with the controversial Heather Has Two Mommies, a book that brought the LGBTQ experience to the children’s section of the bookstore. This month, her latest poetry collection, Lovely, hits bookstores. I talked with Newman about these radical themes, as well as about the accessibility of poetry, fairytales, and, of course, Jewish hair.

Topics: Poetry
Rising Voices Fellow Sofia Gardenswartz Reading Grace Paley

Paley’s Power on the Daily

by Sofia Gardenswartz

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). 

Topics: Schools, Poetry
Emma Lazarus

Lazarus’ Lessons

by Sofia Heller

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.

Topics: Immigration, Poetry

Idra Novey

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

The Birthday of the World

by Bella Book

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 and the Suitors

Penelope’s Feminist Odyssey

by Isabel Kirsch

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. 

Topics: Feminism, Fiction, Poetry

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.
Clara Lemlich in a Shirtwaist, circa 1910

Writing a Revolutionary

by Melanie Crowder

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.

Topics: Labor Rights, Poetry
"Lady Macbeth Seizing the Daggers"

Women Of Influence: What Macbeth Taught Us About Women In Power

by Tess Kelly

That Scottish Shakespearian tragedy, so shrouded in mystery that it is unlucky even to say its name, gave society new ideas about women that have stayed with us since 1606, when the play debuted in London.  

Topics: Plays, Poetry

Amy Gottlieb

In her novel The Beautiful Possible, Amy Gottlieb melds the everyday and the mystic by showing the secret lives and troubled pasts of rabbis, scholars, and their loved ones.

Claire Goll

Claire Goll’s poetry and prose were fueled by the tragedies and scandals that shaped her life.

Lea Goldberg

One of the great poets of modern Israeli literature, Lea Goldberg used the forms of Eastern European folk songs to capture the world lost in the Holocaust.

Karen Gershon

From early childhood, poet Karen Gershon expected to settle in Israel, but the chaos of WWII sent her in an entirely different direction.
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