Photo Credit: Sean Nevin

Betsy Tighe

b. 1957

Current City, State, Country

Portland, Oregon, United States

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States


Betsy Fogelman Tighe has published widely in literary magazines, including TriQuarterly, for which she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and twice in Rattle, for whom she traveled to LA to read. She has won a third place and a first place prize from the Oregon Poetry Association. Her full-length manuscript has been semi-finalist for the Snake Nation Press Violet Reed Haas Poetry Prize and the Hidden Rivers Willow Run Book Award. Ilya Kaminsky chose a poem as a semi-finalist for the 2020 Loraine Williams Poetry Prize. Tighe’s essay about her mentorship with James Wright appears in the Spring, 2018 issue of The Georgia Review. She retired in 2022 from her good work as a teacher-librarian in Portland, Oregon where she also pays some notice to her garden, and values the presence of two young adult children.

What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?

I don’t believe there is a lot of overt relationship between my work and Judaism, but how could the work fail to be influenced by Judaism, which is such a big part of my life? First, being part of the people of the book is in my DNA. I came into being with an animal attraction to language and I had a predilection for it from the start. My moral compass has been set by Jewish laws and customs, and my sense of time by the liturgical calendar. My humor was instilled by being around lots of funny Jews. My preferences and inclinations are determined by my Jewish experience. What’s not Jewish in me, and so what in my work is not Jewish? And then, I do, sometimes, write a poem that is explicitly Jewish and I sometimes think I should set my mind to more of that.

Published Works

Womanly, A Selection of Published Poems
The Oriental Medicine Resource Guide: An Information Sourcebook (Inword Press, 1993)

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title



Temple University, 1979, B.A. in English Literature, Dean’s List
City College of New York, 1988, M.A. in Secondary English Education

Subject Matter