2023 Keynote Speaker, Generative Workshop Faculty, & Inaugural Cohort

2023 Inaugural Conference Schedule

Wednesday, June 21
Discussion Panel: Introduction to a Jewish poet through the lens of a single poem
with Fellows Judith Baumel, Joanna Fuhrman, Jennifer Kronovet, Aviya Kushner, Yehoshua November, & Sam Taylor

Keynote Speaker Alicia Ostriker interviewed by Fellow Nomi Stone

Wednesday Fellows & Faculty Reading
with Faculty Member Ilya Kaminsky and Fellows Sharon Dolin, Sally Rosen Kindred, Judith Baumel, & Yehoshua November
Ilya Kaminsky’s faculty position and reading generously sponsored by Anne Germanacos and the Firehouse Fund in honor of the LABA Global Taboo Cohort

Thursday, June 22
Discussion Panel: Writing Contemporary Midrash
with Fellows Dan Bellm, Sally Rosen Kindred, Nan Cohen, Sharon Dolin, Heather Altfeld, & Nomi Stone

Interns & Scholars Reading
with Interns Shelby Sizemore, Kathryne Gargano, Zach Simon,  & Haley Stevens
and Scholars Maya Bernstein, Judith Chalmer, Laura Eve Engel, Joshua Gottlieb-Miller, Shamar Hill, Daniel Kraft, Deborah Leipziger, Hila Ratzabi, & Ava Winter

Thursday Fellows & Faculty Reading
with Faculty Member Jacqueline Osherow and Fellows Jennifer Kronovet, Dan Bellm, Heather Altfeld, & Nomi Stone

Friday, June 23
Contributors Reading
with Josette Akresh-Gonzales, Elliott batTzedek, Robin Rosen Chang, Amy Eisner, Mark Elber, Caleb Horowitz, Yeva Johnson, Caroline Kessler, Stacy Lawson, Harriet Levin, Sarah Sassoon, Ronnie Scharfman, Robin Silbergleid, Donna Spruijt-Metz, & Dick Westheimer

Friday Fellows & Faculty Reading
with Faculty Member Rodger Kamenetz and Fellows Aviya Kushner, Sam Taylor, Nan Cohen, & Joanna Fuhrman
Rodger Kamenetz’s faculty position and reading are generously sponsored by Harry Jacobs & Lauren Goodman in memory of Leo Jacobs & in honor of Bernice Jacobs.

*All those who join us for this reading are invited to stay for a Kabbalat Shabbat service

Thank you to our conference partner

And gratitude to our local supporters

Keynote Speaker

Alicia Ostriker has published seventeen volumes of poetry, including The Volcano and After; Waiting for the Light; The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog; The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011; No Heaven; The Volcano Sequence; and The Imaginary Lover, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. She was twice a National Book Award Finalist, for The Little Space (1998) and The Crack in Everything (1996), and twice a National Jewish Book Award winner. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Paris Review, Yale Review, Ontario Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Anthology, and many other journals and anthologies, and has been translated into numerous languages including Hebrew and Arabic. Ostriker’s critical work includes the now-classic Stealing the Language: the Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America, and other books on American poetry and on the Bible.

Workshop Faculty

Rodger Kamenetz is a poet, author,  professor emeritus of English and Religious Studies. He is best known for The Jew in the Lotus, an international best-seller now in its 40th printing.  He’s published fifteen books of poetry and prose, among them Stalking Elijah which won the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought and The History of Last Night’s Dream which was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Soul Series.  His other books of Jewish interest include Terra Infirma and Burnt Books a dual biography of Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav and Franz Kafka. His recent books of poetry include  Yonder and Dream Logic. His latest book, The Missing Jew: Poems 1976-2022 represents a forty-six year project in Jewish poetry. Rodger founded  Natural Dreamwork  and leads an international group of practitioners.

Rodger’s workshop:
“Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.”—Genesis 21:19
“…if you look well at his place, he is no longer there”Psalms 37:10

In Genesis,  Hagar—the stranger—is sent out to the desert with her child to die of thirst. But an angel speaks to her and God opens her eyes. Then she sees a well she had not seen before. I take this as a parable of revision.  

Here’s a second one: Rebbe Nachman, discussing how we might learn to judge others more favorably, advises us to “look well” at them.  In this class we will learn to “look for a well” in our poems, that is look for the living images, and also “look well,” to find what is good in a poem and elevate it. In this generative workshop, I will teach techniques to make new poems by working with your old ones, drawing on my work with dream images, and a process in poetry I call self-midrash.

Our goal is to “look well” for what is good and go deeper into the well of images where our poems come from.

Workshop Faculty

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former USSR and came to USA in 1993 when his family was granted asylum by the American government. He is the author of Dancing in Odessa (Tupelo) and Deaf Republic (Graywolf) as well as co-editor of Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins), Homage to Paul Celan (Marick) and many other books. He has also translated books by Marina Tsvetaeva, Polina Barskova, Boris and Ludmila Khersonsky, among others. His work has received The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, The Guggenheim Fellowship, and was shortlisted for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award.

Ilya’s workshop:
We will read poems from Jewish poets of Eastern Europe and elsewhere and we will marvel together on the idea of poetic lineages: how do poets learn from other poets across time and geography? Is there such a thing as a poetics of diaspora? poetics of exile? How do poets enter in conversation with poets that came before them? How do poets bring back to life the authors who came before them and were (unjustly) forgotten? How can our own words grow and change as we overhear conversations between other poets, on and off the page? I hope that in our time together we will all ask impossible questions—and then try to answer them with unpredictable new lyrics.

Workshop Faculty

Jacqueline Osherow is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently Divine Ratios, from LSU Press in 2023.  She’s received grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation and the Witter Bynner Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, as well as a number of prizes from the Poetry Society of America.  Her poems have appeared in many magazines, journals and anthologies, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, the Wadsworth Anthology of Poetry, The Longman Anthology of Poetry, Best American Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Jewish-American Literature, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, Twentieth Century American Poetry and The Making of a Poem.  She’s Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Utah. 

Jacqueline’s workshop:
Psalms – so central to the Jewish poetic tradition – have also had a profound (arguably, the most profound of any text) impact on the English lyric tradition.  They are therefore an ideal text for contemporary English-language Jewish poets to engage with.  We’ll look at psalms and their echoes in the works of English-language poets from Donne, Herbert, Dickinson and Hopkins to  Lucille Clifton and Jericho Brown.  We’ll look, especially, both in psalms and in works in English, at form as a strategy for containing the uncontainable.   I’m hoping we’ll be inspired to write our own psalms or anti-psalms.  

2023 Inaugural Cohort & Staff

Josette Akresh-Gonzales
Elliott batTzedek
Robin Rosen Chang
Amy Eisner
Mark Elber
Caleb Horowitz
Yeva Johnson
Caroline Kessler
Stacy Lawson
Harriet Levin
Sarah Sassoon
Ronnie Scharfman
Robin Silbergleid
Donna Spruijt-Metz
Dick Westheimer

Conference Staff
Shelby SizemoreYetzirah Intern
Cory Weller, Conference Photographer
Alex McWaltersVideographer
Kathryne Gargano, Conference Intern
Zach Simon, Conference Intern

2023 Board of Directors
Jessica Jacobs, Founder, President, & Executive Director
Jehanne Dubrow, Vice President & Readings Series Curator
Rick Chess, Treasurer
Yerra Sugarman, Co-Secretary
David Ebenbach, Co-Secretary