Photo Credit: Jo-Ann Mort

Jo-Ann Mort

b. 1956

Current City, State, Country

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Jo-Ann Mort is a poet and journalist who recently returned to writing poetry after a 22 year hiatus. Her first book, Destinations, will be published in Spring 2025 by Arrowsmith Press.

Her poems have recently appeared in Plume online and in a print anthology, Atlanta Review, Upstreet, The Women’s Review of Books, Stand, and more. She won honorable mention from Voices Israel (2023), and two international poetry publishing honorable mentions for poems about Poland and Jerusalem in the Atlanta Review in 2019 and 2021. Her poetry is included in The First Fifty Years: A Jubilee in Prose and Poetry Honoring Women Rabbis (CCAR PRESS).

Her journalism informs her poetry and she is especially known for her writing and analysis about Israeli domestic life and Palestinians, having reported from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for decades. Recently, she has been writing reporting and analysis about Israel and Palestine for The Guardian opinion pages and The New Republic. She is co-author of the book, Our Hearts Invented a Place: Can Kibbutzim Survive in Today’s Israel?

Jo-Ann is a 1978 graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and also studied at NYU with Yehuda Amichai and Joseph Brodsky. A resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, an active peace activist and engaged leader in the progressive Jewish community, she is also a national steering committee member of Writers for Democratic Action.

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

My Jewish self is at the core of my identity and therefore it is a significant inspiration for all of my writing. My poetry is often about place–Israel, Palestine, and the people I know who live there, as well as my own American Jewish identity and the rituals and experiences that surround and encase that identity. In this, one of my strongest inspirations is Muriel Rukeyser, whose poetry I first read many decades ago when I was in college.  I also studied with Yehuda Amichai and his work has greatly influenced me. Poetry and prayer are similar but distinct. It is no accident that many prayer books include poetry and that poems can become modern day prayers, but poetry is for the secular world ultimately–it is a way for us to synthesize thoughts and experiences that, on the surface may not appear to coincide or collide–the poem shows otherwise.

Published Works

Destinations (Arrowsmith Press, 2025)
Our Hearts Invented a Place: Can Kibbutzim Survive in Today’s Israel? co-authored with Gary Brenner (Cornell U, 2003)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title



Sarah Lawrence, 1978
Studied in the NYU graduate writing program with Yehuda Amichai and Joseph Brodsky

Languages of Publication(s) and Poets Translated

Hebrew (for my own writing-from the Psalms

Subject Matter