Lisa Grunberger

Current City, State, Country

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Birth City, State, Country



Pushcart nominee and Temple University English Professor Lisa Grunberger is a first-generation American writer.
Her award-winning poetry book, I am dirty (Moonstone Press), and Born Knowing (Finishing Line Press), are lyrical reflections on life as a woman, a mother, and a daughter of Holocaust survivors.  Her book, Yiddish Yoga: Ruthie’s Adventures in Love, Loss and the Lotus Position (Harper Collins), about a widowed grandmother who does yoga to help her grieve, is currently being adapted as a musical. Almost Pregnant, her play about infertility and assisted reproductive technologies, is published by Next Stage Press.

Her poetry book, Mercy Wombs, was the finalist in Settlement House American Poetry Prize for first-generation poets. She is a widely published poet whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Paterson Literary Review, Mudfish, The Drunken Boat, Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, Philadelphia Poets, Paroles des Jour, Dialogi, Crab Orchard Review, Mom Egg Review, The Baffler, and Fine Linen Press.

Her poems have been translated into Hebrew, Slovenian, Russian, Spanish and Yiddish. Almost Pregnant, her play about infertility and assisted reproductive technologies, is published by Next Stage Press. Her play, Alexa Talks to Rebecca won the Audience Choice Award at the Squeaky Bicycle Theatre. Her poetry book, For the Future of Girls (Kelsay Press) was nominated for an Eric Hoffer Independent Poetry Book Award. Lisa teaches Yoga and Infertility workshops and lives with her family in Philadelphia. She is working on a memoir called Me and My Makers: An Adopted Woman’s Double Holocaust Inheritance.

Dr. Lisa Grunberger earned her Master’s and Doctoral Degrees at the University of Chicago Divinity School where she wrote a cultural history on medicine, morals and health about an early 20th century head faddist named Bernarr Macfadden, precursor to fitness gurus like Jack Lalanne. She is a published poet and playwright who has written about women’s lives, health and infertility. Whether it is the aging woman’s body, the infertile body, the body ravaged by war and trauma, all her work addresses human embodiment in a philosophical, spiritual, tender and edgy, satirical voice.

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

As the child and grandchild of Shoah survivors, my poems are infused with memory, loss, and history. I have been studying Jewish texts, from Torah and midrash to contemporary and modern literature for much of my life, from my Divinity School days in graduate school to my life now as a mother and writer. I was “born knowing” about the Shoah and it’s complex inheritance of loss, survival and silence.

Jerusalem based writer Aviva Zornberg’s texts have been instrumental in shaping my understanding of Torah; I particularly like her interdisciplinary focus on existential, literary, psychological authors in her interpretation of Torah-Freud, Lacan, Adam Phillips, Yehuda Amichai, and Kafka are studied alongside Exodus, Bereshit, and the Psalms.

Published Works

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title

English Professor, Temple University


University of Rochester, BA, double major in English and Religious Studies
University of Chicago, Masters Degree in Comparative Religion and Feminist Theology
University of Chicago Divinity School, Doctorate in American Cultural History and Comparative Religion

Subject Matter