Photo Credit: Wendy Osterweil

Eli Goldblatt

b. 1952

Current City, State, Country

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland, Ohio, USA


Eli Goldblatt was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up on Army posts in the U.S. and Germany. After earning his B.A. at Cornell University, he attended a year of medical school, traveled in Mexico and Central America, and taught high school for 6 years in Philadelphia. He completed a Ph.D. in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Temple University and former director of New City Writing, an institute focused on community-related literacy projects in North Philadelphia. His poems have appeared since 1973 in small literary journals such as Epoch, Hambone, 6ix, Louisiana Review, and Another Chicago Magazine. His forthcoming poetry collection is From Away and others include For Instance, Sessions 1-62, Speech Acts, and Without a Trace. His two books for children are Leo Loves Round and Lissa and the Moon’s Sheep.

His scholarly books include Alone with Each Other: Literacy and Literature Intertwined; Literacy as Conversation: Learning Networks in Philadelphia and Arkansas (written with David Jolliffe); Writing Home: A Literacy Autobiography. His book Because We Live Here: Sponsoring Literacy Beyond the College Curriculum won the 2008 National Council of Writing Program Administrators’ Best Book Award. He has won best essay of the year awards from both College Composition and Communications and College English. The 2015 Conference on Community Writing presented him with the Outstanding Scholar Award.

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

Judaism was crucial to my family’s identity while we traveled from one Army posting to another in my early years. My father died the week before my bar mitzvah, soon after we arrived in Silver Spring, Maryland, where suddenly I found myself in school with more Jews than I had ever met in one place before. Although I was drawn to literature and especially poetry in high school, I didn’t meet a Jewish poet of any standing until I visited George Oppen and his wife Mary in Maine when I was in my mid-twenties. My Jewish learning is idiosyncratic, as befits a person who moved every 2-5 years till he was in his late 30’s, but my identification as a Jew has always been strong.  The confluence of Jewish tradition and American poetry, later combined with my academic career in composition and rhetoric, has informed my work as a poet and a theorist/researcher since before I published my first poem in 1973.  In my recently published selected essays, Alone with Each Other, I write explicitly about secular bar/bat mitzvah, Jewish folklore, Yom Kippur prayer, making charoset, and ideas of presentness influenced by Oppen and Martin Buber.

Published Works

From Away (Chax Press, forthcoming 2024).
Wissahickon Creek: Walks & Dreams  (Moonstone P, 2022)
For Instance (Chax Press, 2019)
Collected Poems of Gil Ott; edited with Greg Laynor and Trace Peterson (Chax P, 2016)
Without a Trace (Singing Horse Press, 2001)
Speech Acts (Chax Press, 1999)
Sessions 1-62 (Chax Press, 1991)
Journeyman’s Song (Morning Coffee Chapbooks/Coffee House Press, 1990)
Herakles: A Verse Play (Tamarisk Press, 1981)

Children’s Literature
Lissa and the Moon’s Sheep (Harbinger House, 1990)
Leo Loves Round (Harbinger House, 1990)

Academic Literature
Alone with Each Other: Literacy and Literature Intertwined (Peter Lang, 2024)
Literacy as Conversation: Learning Networks in Urban and Rural Communities; written with David Jolliffe (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020)
Literacy, Economy, and Power: Writing and Research after Literacy in American Lives; edited with John Duffy, Julie Nelson Christoph, Nelson Graff, Rebecca Nowacek, Bryan Trabold (Illinois University Press, 2014)
Writing Home: A Literacy Autobiography (S. Illinois University Press, 2012)
Because We Live Here: Sponsoring Literacy beyond the College Curriculum (Hampton Press, 2007)
Round My Way: Authority and Double-Consciousness in Three Urban High School Writers (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title

Professor Emeritus, English/Temple University


University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D., 1990
University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.A. in English, 1984
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, M.Ed., 1982
Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, 1975-76
Cornell University, A.B. in classical civilization, 1974

Subject Matter