Photo Credit: Darla Himeles

Elliott batTzedek

b. 1963

Current City, State, Country

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Waverly, Illinois, USA


Elliott batTzedek holds an MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University. She is the recipient of the Robert Bly translation prize, for her work on Dance of the Lunatic by the Israeli Jewish lesbian poet Shez. She is the co-leader of Fringes: a feminist, non-zionist havurah, which was founded in 2007 and meets monthly. This community uses poetry as prayer, and Elliott both creates new liturgy and weaves poetry by others into traditional liturgical forms. Liturgy created for Fringes is now being used across the country.

Elliott is the recipient of a Leeway Foundation Art and Change Award for her translations, and a residency at Norcroft: A Writing Retreat for Women. Her poems, essays, and translations have been published in the journals: American Poetry Review, Massachusetts Review, Sakura Review, Apiary, Cahoodaloodaling, Naugatuck River Review, Poemeleon, Poetica, Philadelphia Stories, Sinister Wisdom, Trivia, The Lesbian Review of Books, Lambda Literary Online, Split This Rock poem of the week, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Reconstructionism Today, DoubleSpeak, Menacing Hedge, The Lake Rises, Armchair/Shotgun, and Adanna Literary Journal. Her work has also appeared in the anthologies: Beside Still Waters (Bayit, 2021), Who by Plague: High Holy Days Sermons from COVID19 Times (Hamotzi Press, 2021), Passageways: The 2012 Two Lines Translation Anthology, Overplay/Underdone (Medusa’s Laugh Press, 2105), Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press 2013), the English edition of the 2013 Hebrew anthology Israeli Women’s Protest Poetry ed. by Dorit Weisman, Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals 10th Anniversary edition, and the Oxford University Press textbook Gender Through the Prism of Difference. Her chapbook the enkindled coal of my tongue was published in January, 2017 by Wicked Banshee Press.

For her day jobs, Elliott works multiple roles within the bookselling industry: as an event manager at a bookstore, as the Member Manager for a Regional Indie Bookstore Trade Association; as the administrator for the Professional Booksellers School; and as the dean of that school’s course in Event Management.

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

When I am writing poetry I write from this tangled intersection of all of my identities, fears, obsessions, and joys. Being a Jew is part of that mix, but the “Jewish bits” may only be visible to others of my tribes. As a liturgist, though, Jewish-ness and Judaism are my gravity and my lens. Liturgy, like poetry, is the attempt to translate the language of the heart into the language of the breath, with the additional task of trying to find words that speak for an entire community, or at the very least a minyan. Creating liturgy for my communities is how I practice Judaism – outside of any theology or denomination or politic, creating word patterns to help my peoples touch the holy is what it means for me to a poet, a person, and a Jew.

Published Works

the enkindled coal of my tongue (chapbook; Wicked Banshee Press, 2017)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title

Member Manager/NAIBA


Beloit College, B.A. in English and Creative Writing
Minnesota State University at Mankato, M.S. in Women’s Studies
Drew University, M.F.A. in Poetry and Poetry in Translation

Languages of Publication(s) and Poets Translated

Hebrew, Shez

Subject Matter