2024 Jewish Poetry Conference: What is Jewish Poetry? Panel

July 2, 2024: 3:15-4:30 pm ET
What is Jewish Poetry? Why are we here? (How is this week different than other weeks?) (Can we write as Jews without writing “Jewish poetry”?)

Dan Bellm has published five books of poems, including Counting (2023), Deep Well (2017), and Practice: A Book of Midrash (2008), winner of a 2009 California Book Award. Poems have appeared in The Best American Spiritual Writing; 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium; and many other journals and anthologies. His translations of poetry include Central American Book of the Dead, by Balam Rodrigo (2023) and Speaking in Song, by Pura López Colomé (2017). Dan has taught literary translation and poetry at Antioch University Los Angeles, Mills College, and New York University. He lives in Berkeley, California. www.danbellm.com.

Jessica Greenbaum is a writer, teacher and social worker living in Brooklyn. Her first book came out from the Gerald Cable Prize, her second was chosen by Paul Muldoon for the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets and by Library Journal as a best book, and of her third book, Grace Shulman complimented “a brilliant use of metaphor,” and said the poems were “enlivened by keen observation, a fresh mind, and a vivid sense of place that makes me want to be there, with her, in her world.” The Boston Globe named it a best book of year. With Rabbi Hara Person she co-edited the first ever poetry Haggadah, and is a co-editor with poets Jennifer Barber and Fred Marchant of a forthcoming anthology of 21st century poems about trees. Recipient of awards from the NEA and the Poetry Society of America, she teaches inside and outside academia, sometimes around Jewish text, and sometimes for communities who have experienced trauma. She has taught classes she designs at Manhattan’s Central Synagogue since 2015, and recently taught poetry writing classes at Barnard College, Vassar College and  Brooklyn Poets (where she is on the board). As a social worker she has designed classes for people who have left ultra-Orthodoxy through the organization Footsteps, with 9/11 first responders through NYU Langone hospital, with survivors of childhood brain tumors through the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. She is always looking to work with groups where poetry that is accessible to read, provocative to discuss, and fun to use as models, encourages the coherence of both community and self-discovery.

Dana Levin is the author of five books poetry. Her latest is Now Do You Know Where You Are (Copper Canyon), a 2022 New York Times Notable Book and NPR “Book We Love.” She is a grateful recipient of honors from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN, and the Library of Congress, as well as from the Rona Jaffe, Whiting, and Guggenheim Foundations. With Adele Elise Williams, she co-edited Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master (2023) for the Unsung Masters Series. Levin teaches for the Bennington Writing Seminars, the MFA program at Bennington College, and serves as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Maryville University in St. Louis.

Poet, translator, scholar and activist Eleanor Wilner has received many honors, including the 2019 Frost Medal of the Poetry Society of America for Lifetime Achievement and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1991-1996). Her eighth and most recent collection, Before Our Eyes: New and Selected Poems 1975-2017, is a remarkable rewriting of the myths of life and art by one of the most vital and original voices in American poetry. Wilner’s work is far-ranging and widely anthologized, and she has participated in a number of multi-disciplinary collaborations in music and dance. On the faculty of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College for thirty years, Wilner makes her home in Philadelphia, though she has been Visiting Writer in Hawaii Iowa and Japan, and at the University of Iowa, Northwestern, University of Chicago and Smith College.