Current City, State, Country
Birth City, State, Country
Taije Silverman’s second volume of poetry Now You Can Join the Others, was published in 2022. Her first volume, Houses Are Fields, was published in 2009. Her translations from the Italian of The Selected Poems of Giovanni Pascoli (with Marina Della Putta Johnston) were published in 2019 and shortlisted for the John Florio Prize. Silverman’s poems have been in journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, and The Kenyon Review. They have been selected for Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize, and the Anne Halley Prize from The Massachusetts Review. Silverman is the recipient of a Fulbright Award, the Emory University Creative Writing Fellowship, the Vassar College W.K. Rose Fellowship, and residencies from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts.
What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?
I grew up understanding I was Jewish only because my father’s parents’ lives had been traumatized by the Holocaust. My father moved us as far from his parents as he could, and I doubt I heard the words Rosh HaShanah until college. So what shaped me was not an informed sense of historical identity so much as an awareness of self as conflict: I lived with the last name Silverman in an absolutely segregated Southern town, knowing vaguely that we had not been allowed to join Farmington Country Club while knowing explicitly that the cool kids in school were members, and that my proximity to them meant power rather than self-loathing.
But I also loved myself. And I loved my grandmother. And I adored my father, whose sense of shame felt somehow inextricable from his quite dazzling strength. The relationship between Jewishness and my poetry has been one of contradiction, and learned ambivalence. But also curiosity. As whiteness sharpens more clearly in the public eye for what it is, my definition of power shifts. And the desire for history—my own family’s history and the collective histories that knot into it—has come into my work, along with a search for solidarity in the experience of being othered.
Now You Can Join the Others (LSU, 2022)
Houses Are Fields (LSU, 2009)
Selected Poems of Giovanni Pascoli (Princeton University Press, 2019)