Current City, State, Country
Birth City, State, Country
Judy Katz’s debut poetry collection, How News Travels, won the 2021 Gerald Cable Book Award and will be published by Silverfish Review Press in Summer 2023. Her poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and in The New York Times Book Review, Salamander, The Women’s Review of Books, Plume, upstreet, and other print and online journals. Katz’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and widely anthologized, appearing in such publications as Best Indie Lit New England, The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review, The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, and Treelines: an anthology of 21st century American poems. Judy was born and raised in Memphis, TN and graduated from Barnard College with honors. She received her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. For many years, Katz worked as a documentary filmmaker and producer of public television. She currently teaches poetry in New York City.
What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?
I grew up in a large, close-knit Modern Orthodox family in Memphis, TN where I went to Jewish day school and yeshiva high school. As the family became more observant, my grandfather built a ‘Shabbos House’ near the synagogue where my aunts, uncles and cousins all spent every weekend of my childhood together. Both of my parents were born and raised in Memphis. My mother was a painter and my father— in addition to his professional life— played jazz saxophone. This was the soil I took root in. Though I moved away from Orthodox Judaism, the richness of Jewish texts and practices has stayed with me— or rather, it returned after a long hiatus during college and beyond. I find that Jewish themes make their way into many of my poems: anger will blossom here; argument take hold there; and questions, devotion and a sense of the unknowable seem to circulate throughout.
Two of my poems and reflections on their Jewish content appeared as part of a feature by Sally Bliumis-Dunn on Jewish American Women Poets in the online journal PLUME.
How News Travels (Silverfish Press Review, 2023, Winner of the 2021 Gerald Cable Award)
Links to Sample Works
Barnard College, B.A. in English, 1982
Sarah Lawrence College, MFA in Poetry, 2002