Current City, State, Country
Birth City, State, Country
Cindy Savett is a poet who has been active using poetry in the mental health community. She is the author of two full-length collections, The Breath (SPD Recommended Book), and Child in the Road, as well as four chapbooks; Overtures of Survival, The Story of My Eyes, Battle for the Metal Kiss, and Rachel: In the Temporary Mist of Prayer. Her work is also found in the anthologies, Challenges for the Delusional (Jane Street Press, 2012), and Poetry is Bread, The Anthology (upcoming). Her poems have been published in numerous journals, including: Tupelo Quarterly, The Laurel Review, The Adirondack Review, The Marlboro Review, Lit, Heavy Feather Review, Margie, Word For/Word, and others. In 2018, her poems were translated into Spanish and performed by the Universidad de Costa Rica, School of Musical Arts, then later put to choreography by Susan Campos. Savett was invited to the 2017 National Poetry Therapy Conference to speak on a panel about the success of introducing poetry to inpatients in psychiatric settings. Her university studies focused on the work of Martin Buber and Martin Heidegger, enlarging her exploration into internal dialectics. In 2000, her youngest child died unexpectedly. Savett’s engagement with grief through her poems turned into a study of survival. Beginning in 2004, she has brought poetry to inpatients at various psychiatric hospitals in the Philadelphia area.
What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?
From childhood, my engagement with Judaism was both political and physical. My Grandfather was an early supporter of the Irgun, receiving the Jabotinsky Award for his work in raising funds in Israel’s formative years. My grandparents had an apartment in Caesarea and spent many months throughout a given year there. My parents were active in our community’s Jewish Federation and JCC, both in leadership positions and as fundraisers. As a child I visited Israel a month after the Six Day War, riding in a military jeep to the Western Wall after having seen the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. My family memories are rife with arguments about which government official to support in a particular Israeli election, Labor or Likud, or which Jewish agency in our area was in most need of our support—how best could we be of value in ensuring the Jewish people would survive. As an adult I have entered the conversation by serving as Chair, Vice Chair, or Board member, in various Jewish community organizations. As well, my husband and I sent our children to a pluralistic Jewish Day School.
The relationship between Judaism and my poetry is more nuanced than the worldly activities swirling through my life. I integrated my writing into the religion in my adolescence through our synagogue Youth Group, bringing my poetry into the creation of shabbat services. As an adult, though, it has turned in a mystical and existential direction. My recent work is focused on my relationship with the “Other”. I have returned to Buber, exploring other Jewish philosophers and theologians.
Overtures of Survival (Dancing Girl Press, 2022)
The Breath (BlazeVOX Books, 2020)
The Story of My Eyes (Dancing Girl Press, 2012)
Battle for the Metal Kiss (H_ngm_n Books, 2011)
Child in the Road (Parlor Press, Free Verse Editions, 2007)
Rachel: In the Temporary Mist of Prayer (Big Game Books, 2007)
Links to Sample Works
University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1975
Gratz College, Teacher’s Certificate, 1971