Photo Credit: Randl Bye

Lynn Levin

b. 1953

Current City, State, Country

Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis, Missouri, USA


Lynn Levin is a poet, writer, translator, and teacher who engages both Jewish and mainstream subjects in her work. She is the author of five collections of poems, most recently The Minor Virtues (Ragged Sky, 2020), named one of the year’s best books by The Philadelphia Inquirer. House Parties, her debut collection of short fiction, will be published by Spuyten Duyvil in 2023. Her poems have appeared in The Hopkins Review, Boulevard, Rattle, on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, Kerem, Artful Dodge, Plume, and Ploughshares. She has published short stories in The Saturday Evening Post,, Amarillo Bay, The Broadkill Review, and Valparaiso Fiction Review; and essays in Michigan Quarterly Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, and The Smart Set. Her poems appear in a number of anthologies, including The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry (Bloomsbury Academic), The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (URJ), Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (Penn State), and Keystone: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (Penn State, forthcoming).

Lynn Levin is Adjunct Associate Professor of English at Drexel University and was the producer of the TV talk-show The Drexel InterView. For many years, she taught creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania. Before teaching she had careers in publishing and advertising.

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

My Jewish poetry reflects my deep and increasingly playful relationship with Judaism and Jewish culture. My earlier Jewish poems, for which I have much affection, were gently spiritual and basically pious. My work took a bold turn when I read Eleanor Wilner’s brilliant midrashic poem “Sarah’s Choice.” I learned that you could reinterpret Bible stories, create alternate narratives, read between the lines, and even challenge or quarrel with traditional interpretations of Scripture. Like Wilner, I saw that I could challenge the akeda, and did so in a number of poems. I moved on to explore the anxiety of Jewish identity as in the poem “Delicatessen.” I dove into the midrash of Lilith, an unfairly characterized figure, and had her go shopping (“Eve and Lilith Go to Macy’s”), struggle with insomnia (“Lilith’s Quilt”), and try to find a lasting relationship (“Lilith Tries Online Dating”). My Jewish poems have become freer, funnier, even outrageous…and where they’ll go next only time will tell.

Published Works

The Minor Virtues (Ragged Sky, 2020)
Miss Plastique (Ragged Sky, 2013)
Fair Creatures of an Hour (Loonfeather, 2009)
Imaginarium (Loonfeather, 2005)
A Few Questions about Paradise (Loonfeather, 2000)

House Parties (Spuyten Duyvil, 2023)

Craft of Poetry
Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets, co-author (Texture, 1st edition 2013 and 2nd edition 2019)

Birds on the Kiswar Tree: Poems by Odi Gonzales, a translation from the Spanish (2Leaf, 2014)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title

Adjunct Associate Professor of English, Drexel University


Northwestern University, BA in Comparative Literature
Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Poetry

Languages of Publication(s) and Poets Translated

Spanish, Odi Gonzales; French, various poets

Subject Matter