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Emma Lazarus dies at age 38

November 19, 1887

When Emma Lazarus died on November 19, 1887 at the age of 38, the obituary published in the New York Times referred to her as “an American Poet o

Death of author, educator, and Zionist pioneer Jessie Sampter

November 11, 1938

Jessie Sampter was an influential Zionist educator, a poet, and a Zionist pioneer. She died at Kibbutz Givat Brenner on November 11, 1938.

Emma Lazarus writes "The New Colossus"

November 2, 1883

A manuscript copy of Emma Lazarus's famous sonnet, “The New Colossus,” bears the date November 2, 1883.

Birth of Babette Deutsch: poet, novelist, critic

September 22, 1895

Celebrated poet, novelist, critic, and editor Babette Deutsch was born on September 22, 1895.

Louise Glück named Poet Laureate

August 29, 2003

Louise Glück was named poet laureate of the United States on August 29, 2003.

Gertrude Stein publishes Alice B. Toklas "Autobiography"

June 1, 1933

American modernist writer Gertrude Stein published a memoir, ironically titled The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, on June 1, 1933.

Racy actress Adah Isaacs Menken appears in her last performance

May 30, 1868

Little is definitively known about the private life and early history of actress Adah Isaacs Menken.

Poet Maxine Kumin wins Pulitzer Prize

May 7, 1973
Writer Maxine Kumin won the esteemed award for poetry for her collection "Up Country: Poems of New England."

Poet Muriel Rukeyser receives important literary award

May 8, 1942
In winning an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the young poet was recognized as an important presence on the American literary scene.

Publication of Merle Feld's "A Spiritual Life: A Jewish Feminist Journey"

April 1, 1999

Merle Feld's memoir, A Spiritual Life: A Jewish Feminist Journey was published on April 1, 1999.

Remembering Miriam Goodman - Her Church, The Chicken; Her Guests, Her Minyan

Jordan Namerow

Happy National Poetry Month! To celebrate, I've been reading some new poems and revisiting old favorites by women like Muriel Rukeyser, Adrienne Rich, and Maxine Kumin.

Topics: Poetry

Yiddish: Women's Poetry

Women’s poetry in Yiddish first made its presence felt within the wider context of modern Yiddish culture in the late 1910s. Exploring topics from gender in Judaism to queer sexuality and eroticism, women’s Yiddish poetry cemented itself as its own literary corpus with priceless value and contribution to Yiddish literary culture.

Yiddish Literature in the United States

Writers of a broad range of texts—passionate and erotic lyrical verse, social realist fiction, affecting descriptions of immigrant life, nostalgic paeans to their Eastern European homes, dirges to those murdered in the Holocaust—Yiddish women writers were modernists and traditionalists, romantics and realists, prose writers and poets. They represent no single school or line of development, but rather the range of women’s voices contained in Yiddish literature.

Yemen and the Yishuv

Yemenite women proved to be stable and resourceful, both in Yemen where tradition reigned, and also after immigration to Erez Israel and New York, facing changes and challenges in turbulent times. They adapted to changing economic, social, and communal conditions, acculturated in language skills and organizational life, and were instrumental in bringing up their daughters and sons to successfully integrate into the new worlds.

Jean Starr Untermeyer

Poet Jean Starr Untermeyer’s work was first influenced by her connections with writers Sara Teasdale, Amy Lowell, Carl Sandburg, and Robert Frost. Through her many volumes of published poetry and translations, Untermeyer explored her own personal tragedies and defended women’s right to use personal experience in their art.

Miryam Ulinover

Born in Poland, Miriam Ulinover was one of the great Yiddish poets of the early twentieth century. Through her poems, she wove traditional Jewish life in the shtetl into a mythical vision of Jewish life, tradition, childhood, and identity.

Marie Syrkin

Marie Syrkin is best known as a polemicist for the State of Israel, whose keen arguments appeared in a wide range of publications for a period of almost seventy years. Her life touched almost every significant aspect of Jewish life in America and Europe in the twentieth century.

Selma Stern-Taeubler

Originally a historian and researcher in Heidelberg and Berlin, Selma Stern-Taeubler settled at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinatti after fleeing Nazi Germany. She became the first archivist of the American Jewish Archives at the college and later wrote books of fiction and nonfiction. Despite her contributions to Jewish history, American-Jewish academe has largely undervalued Stern-Taeubler’s work, which continued until her death in 1981.

Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein was an American modernist writer, an international celebrity, and an artistic iconoclast. With her companion Alice B. Toklas, she lived in Paris for most of her life. An impressive modern art collection hung on the walls of their home. Besides poetry and plays, Stein wrote innovative fiction, essays on writing and art, and two memoirs, The Biography of Alice B. Toklas and Everybody’s Autobiography, that chronicled her life, career, and famous friends.

Emily Solis-Cohen

Emily Solis-Cohen was a prominent poet, historian, and philanthropist. As a community leader, she conducted American Jewish historical research and used this knowledge to publish both poetic and nonfiction works that celebrated the lives of Jewish Americans, and especially Jewish women.

Shulammite: Bible

The Shulammite is described as very close to her mother, assertive, and extremely beautiful. Her narrative is sensual and filled with longing as she waits for her lover. The Shulammite does not shy away from declaring her feelings and desires, and the Bible portrays her as a complex woman whose eroticism is celebrated.

Grace Seixas Nathan

Although it was never published in her lifetime, Grace Seixas Nathan’s writing showed her passion for her country, her family, and her religion. She began writing poetry at an early age, particularly on Jewish themes. Throughout her life, Nathan corresponded with various friends and relations, blending eloquence and emotion with a fierce wit that bring her era to life.

Jessie Ethel Sampter

Jessie Ethel Sampter was a Zionist pioneer, helping found kibbutzim and becoming one of Israel’s first modern poets. Sampter’s early interest in ethical culture, pacifism, and Zionism led her to Henrietta Szold, who became her friend and mentor.

Muriel Rukeyser

Poet Muriel Rukeyser’s prolific body of work reflects her passionate activism and lived experiences. She was present at many important events during the 1930s and was arrested for covering the second Scottsboro trial. Rukeyser spent her entire life as an activist, including involvement in Vietnam War protest efforts.


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