Robert Manaster

b. 1963

Current City, State, Country

Champaign, Illinois, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago, Illinois, USA


Robert Manaster’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals including Birmingham Poetry Review, Image, Maine Review, Rhino, and Spillway. His co-translations have appeared in journals including Poet Lore, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. His co-translation of Ronny Someck’s The Milk Underground (White Pine Press) was awarded the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation. He also co-translated a book of Yossel Birstein’s flash fiction stories, And So is the Bus, Jerusalem Stories (Dryad Press). He’s published poetry book reviews in such publications as Rattle, Colorado Review, The Rumpus, Rain Taxi, and Tar River Poetry. Currently, he’s an Associate Editor at Cider Press Review. He’s a member of the Glass Room Poets, based in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

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

I grew up as a suburban conservative Jew. I intermarried and became reform. In my late twenties, I had a religious experience. This background colors my Judaism, views of God, and ultimately my poetry. Judaism through its emphasis on study, words (especially their play), and social justice informs my poetry, and my poetry informs my Judaism. Sometimes I write poetry as a form of Torah study, so that I’d remember the parsha and what insights I or others have gleaned from studying the parsha. Sometimes I write poetry inspired by the parsha (and other Jewish texts or events) and discover more of myself. In essence, the poetry of mine that I consider to be Jewish engages with godliness, issues in social justice, intermarriage, interfaith relations, or curiosities I have about Jewish and spiritual experiences.

Published Works

Co-Translations, Poetry
The Milk Underground (White Pine Press, 2015)

Co-Translation, Flash Fiction
And So Is the Bus, Jerusalem Stories (Dryad Press, 2016)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading


University of Illinois, Bachelor of Science, Computer Science- Engineering, 1985
University of Illinois, Master of Arts in English, 1998
University of Illinois, Master of Science in Library and Information Science, 2006

Languages of Publication(s) and Poets Translated

Hebrew to English—writers we translated: Ronny Someck, Yossel Birstein, Ortsion Bartana, Chanoch Levine. Co-translator is Hana Inbar

Subject Matter