2023 Inaugural Conference: Interns & Scholars Reading

Shelby Sizemore, Yetzirah Intern

Kathryne David Gargano (she/hers) hails from the Pacific Northwest, but isn’t very good at climbing trees. A poet and short story writer, she received her MFA from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  She is the current Managing Editor for Cream City Review, and her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Colorado Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Notre Dame ReviewBellevue Literary Review, and others. She currently lives in Milwaukee with her three-legged pup, Peternelle.

Zach Simon is an MFA Poetry Candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His poem, “Homestead” received an AWP Intro Journals Award and appears in Hayden’s Ferry Review. His other poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest and Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts. He currently serves as an editorial assistant for Ninth Letter and Poetry Northwest.

Haley Stevens is a Graduate Assistant at Ball State University, pursing her Masters of Arts in English-Creative Writing, with graduation expectation date of May 2024. She is a recent recipient of the 2023 Dr. Frank Hrisomalos Memorial Award, which she received through the National Society of Arts and Letters Literature competition, Indiana Chapter, by winning 4th place. Her writing focuses on Jewish Surrealism, interlacing mysticism, magical realism, and folklore to connect back to her Jewish identity and to answer the question: what does it mean to be Jewish, queer, and a woman in the 21st Century?

Maya Bernstein’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Allium, By the Seawall, the Cider Press Review, the Eunoia Review, Ghost City Review, Lilith Magazine, Poetica Magazine, Tablet Magazine, and elsewhere. She is on  faculty at Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership and Yeshivat Maharat, and is pursuing an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. Her first collection is There Is No Place Without You (Ben Yehuda Press, 2022). She lives in Yonkers with her partner Noam Silverman and their five children.

Judith Chalmer’s writing includes her own poetry (Minnow, 2020 Kelsay Books and Out of History’s Junk Jar, 1995 Time Being Boos), and co-translation from Japanese to English with poet, Michiko Oishi. She identifies as Jewish, queer and disabled. Her goal in attending the Yetzirah Conference is to discover possibilities for connecting the questions of discontinuity, of stories told in pieces, of following tracks, with Jewish tradition. She has taught undergraduate creative writing, directed a nonprofit in arts and disability, and currently serves on the board of Vermont Humanities. She lives with her wife in Burlington, Vermont.

Laura Eve Engel is the author of Things That Go (Octopus Books). A recipient of fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Wurlitzer Foundation and the Yiddish Book Center, her work can be found in The Awl, Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, The Nation, PEN America, and elsewhere. Originally from Charlottesville, VA, she now lives in Richmond, where she’s the proud Mamma of a pitbull named Razel.

Joshua Gottlieb-Miller received his PhD and MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston. Joshua has published poetry, memoir, hybrid poetry and essays, multimedia writing, and folklore scholarship. His writing has been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Tent Writing Conference at the Yiddish Book Center, and elsewhere. His debut collection, “The Art of Bagging,” won Conduit’s Marystina Santiestevan First Book Prize. Joshua teaches at San Jacinto College, and lives in Houston with his wife and son.

Shamar Hill is Black, Cherokee, and Jewish. He is the recipient of numerous awards including fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Cave Canem, and Fine Arts Work Center. He has been published in: Poetry Northwest, The Missouri Review, and Washington Square Review, among others. He is working on a poetry collection, Photographs of an Imagined Childhood, and a memoir, In Defiance of All True Things.

Daniel Kraft is a writer, translator, and educator living in Highland Springs, Virginia. His poems, essays, and translations from Yiddish and Hebrew appear in numerous publications, including the Kenyon Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Image, Jewish Currents, and Slate, and his newsletter of Yiddish poetry in translation can be found at danielkraft.substack.com. Daniel is currently a Translation Fellow of the National Yiddish Book Center, and holds a master’s degree in Jewish studies from Harvard Divinity School, where he was a resident at the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions.

Deborah Leipziger is an author, poet, and advisor on sustainability. Born in Brazil, Ms. Leipziger is the author of several books on sustainability and human rights. Her poems have been published in eight countries, in such magazines and journals as Pangyrus, Salamander, Lily Poetry Review, and Revista Cardenal. She is the co-founder of Soul-Lit, an on-line poetry magazine. Her new collection of poems, Story & Bone, was published in early 2023 by Lily Poetry Review Books. Her chapbook, Flower Map, was published by Finishing Line Press. Her work appears in numerous anthologies, including Tree Lines: 21st Century American Poems.

Hila Ratzabi is the author of the poetry collection There Are Still Woods (June Road Press, 2022), which was a 2023 Nautilus Book Award gold winner in poetry. Her poems have been published widely in literary journals and have been anthologized in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry and Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. She holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from Barnard College, a BA in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. She is director of communications at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, IL.