Photo Credit: Bader Howar

Elya Braden

Current City, State, Country

Oxnard, California, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Santa Monica, California, USA


Elya Braden was born a poet, singer/actor and artist, but took an 18-year hiatus from her creative life while she worked as a corporate securities lawyer and entrepreneur. After serving as General Counsel of a public Internet company, she retired from law at the end of 2000. Elya went on to create a networking group for experienced women lawyers and to serve on corporate and non-profit boards. Elya also returned to her passion for singing in jazz clubs, cabarets and musicals, as well as acting on stage and in films and commercials.

Elya is now a writer and mixed-media artist living in Channel Islands Harbor in Ventura County, CA with her husband and their two cats. She is an editor of Gyroscope Review. Elya’s work has been published in Calyx, Prometheus Dreaming, Rattle Poets Respond, Sequestrum, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, The Louisville Review and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Best New Poets.

Elya founded and leads a nonprofit, HaGomel, which provides free expressive arts programs for women who have experienced sexual trauma to support their emotional and psychological healing.

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

I have always felt strongly connected to Judaism and even considered attending Rabbinic school while I majored in Religion in college. After affiliating with more traditional congregations during my first marriage and feeling more and more disconnected from my spirituality, I started exploring new ways of connecting with Judaism when that marriage ended. One of my challenges with Judaism was the traditional patriarchal language and emphasis on “His-story” versus “Her-story.” At the same time as I returned to writing poetry, I sought out congregations led by women Rabbis who celebrated re-languaging the traditional texts and creating new traditions to celebrate the feminine within our culture. This exploration is evidenced in many of my poems, as are my Jewish cultural reference points and values. My second collection, The Sight of Invisible Longing, is a memoir in poems about my sexual and spiritual reawakening after the end of my first marriage and is woven with Jewish themes, including poems about a spiritual retreat in Israel.

Published Works

The Sight of Invisible Longing (Finishing Line Press, 2023)
Open The Fist (Finishing Line Press, 2020) 

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title

Assistant Editor, Gyroscope Review; President, HaGomel Foundation


Duke University, B.A. in Religion
Stanford Law School, J.D.

Subject Matter