Photo Credit: Susan Ennis

Owen Lewis

b. 1951

Current City, State, Country

New York, New York, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Biography

Owen Lewis, author of three collections of poetry, Field Light (Distinguished Favorite, 2020 NYCBigBookAward; 2021 “Must Read”, Mass Book Awards), Marriage Map (short list Rubery Book Awards) and Sometimes Full of Daylight, all from Dos Madres Press, and two chapbooks. best man was the recipient of the 2016 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize of the New England Poetry Club. First prizes include: 2023 Guernsey International Poetry Competition, 2023 Arts & Letters/Rumi Prize, 2016 International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. His poetry has appeared in Nimrod, Poetry Wales, The Mississippi Review, Southward, The Four Way Review, Arts & Letters, and Cider Press Review. His literary essays have appeared in Intima, Ink Sweat & Tears, Presence, Wordpeace, and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. At Columbia University, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, he is Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics.

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

As a Jew, my poetry is Jewish. Sometimes I intentionally take up a Jewish theme, but more often, the Jewishness of my writing appears. It could be a Biblical reference, a cultural or holiday reference, a story that becomes unexpectedly a midrash. Sometimes, too, the Hebrew language inspires me—how something is said in Hebrew and the implicit metaphors in Hebrew. For instance, “How’s your mood?” in literal translation becomes “What’s the condition of your spirit” (mah hamatzav ruach). That mood and spirit are so intimately connected in a phrase is itself an untranslatable prompt. As sometimes I think Jewish, sometimes think human, sometimes think personally about what’s current in my life, these frames of mind are reflected in my poetry. In summary, the relationship between Judaism and my poetry is profound, unpredictable, surprising, and reassuring.

Published Works

Knock-knock (Dos Madres Press, forthcoming 2024)
Field Light (Dos Madres Press, 2020)
Marriage Map (Dos Madres Press, 2016)
best man (chapbook; Dos Madres Pres, 2015)
Sometimes Full of Daylight (Dos Madres Press, 2013)
March in San Miguel (chapbook; Finishing Line Press, 2012)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title

Professor, Columbia University; private practice of psychiatry

Education

Univ. of Pennsylvania, B.A.
Mt. Sinai College of Medicine, M.D.
William Alanson White Institute for Psychoanalysis

Subject Matter

Genre