Current City, State, Country
Birth City, State, Country
Anna Wrobel is an American historian, teacher, poet, Holocaust Studies educator and daughter of Polish Jewish refugees, a rescue partisan mother and Soviet soldier father. Her poetry and essays appear in Cafe Review, Lilith, Off the Coast and Jewish Currents. Anna has two poetry collections, Marengo Street (2012) and The Arrangement of Things (2018). Her work appeared in University of Maine’s Holocaust Human Rights Center’s art and poetry exhibit, Dilemma of Memory, and she’s presented for the Puffin Foundation on Jewish resistance. Anna is consultant to the Jewish Partisans Educational Foundation (JPEF) and an Advanced Studies Lerner Fellow of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR). Anna’s poetry and history teaching have been featured at the Maine Jewish Museum, Colby College, Thomas College, UMaine-Augusta, Jewish Community Alliance, USM’s OLLI classes and OLLI Sage Lecture series. Poems from her manuscript Sparrow Feathers: Second Generation/First Person are used by teachers in several U.S. states, Poland, Germany and Israel-Palestine. Anna co-hosted the long-running poetry series, Lowry’s Lodge, with musician/writer Jim Donnelly. Life experiences include theater; artisanal craft; Galilee kibbutz farming (daughter Corinna Shulamit born); Maine mountain homesteading (son Barak Azriel born); construction site foreman; refugee advocate; long-time president of a local teachers’ union; single mom.
What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?
I am the first American-born in my family of postwar refugees from Poland who arrived in the U.S. in August, 1947 with my brother and sister, baby refugees. When I was born we lived in the one room for five behind a tiny grocery store in a Brooklyn tenement. I was then the only American citizen in the room, the others still undergoing naturalization process. (Thank you 14th Amendment birthright citizenship.) I was forever told that I was the only one who could be president, and so after years of avoiding my fate, I became an American historian (Eric Foner, my mentor at Columbia University). The path to that place in history, however, followed a path through Jewish history from ancient times to the fate of my parents’ families in the Final Solution to their (and my) American rebirth. No elders, no grandparents, a mother the lone survivor of twelve, a father once severely wounded on the Russian front, our Jewish ‘education’ was in the walls and the couch and the very breath in the room. What I knew about being Jewish was that your grandparents must be murdered before you are born. My mother had to set me straight that both she and my father had grandparents. What a shock. I barely knew what old people were, who they belonged to and where they went at night. But my parents had life coming out of their pores as they navigated poverty and discrimination (even by some American Jews) to a fairly successful middle class experience. Jewish life was of critical importance in our home. Not defined religiously, but as the actuality of JEWISH LIFE here and in Israel after so much death. This family dances, plays music, tells jokes, laughs a great deal. These two soldiers took us from the deep well of oceans of tears and fears to the true joy of being Jewish and alive. My major relationships have been with non-Jews. My children are half Scandinavian/Scottish, and all know the deep well of Jewish life that I bathe in and they join me in this. My poetry reflects these Jewish experiences – theirs, mine, ours – and much more. shalom / salaam / peace
The Arrangement of Things (Moon Pie Press, 2018)
Marengo Street (Moon Pie Press, 2012)
Links to Sample Works
City University of New York: Lehman College, Theater Major/Art History Minor
CUNY/Queens College – B.A. in History
Columbia University, Masters and A.B.D. in American History