Poetry in Times of Peril

Promotional image of Poetry In Times of Peril Event with two headshots of female poets

On July 14, 2020, the PsalmSeason project, with co-sponsors the Jewish Women's Archive and Lilith Magazine, presented the online event  "Poetry in Times of Peril: Four Women's Voices." 

From the ancient Book of Psalms to contemporary hip-hop, poetry has served as a vital channel through which to express our deepest yearnings, frustrations, and hopes. This event explored how might words of poetry help us respond to the current crisis of COVID-19 and the national reckoning with racial injustice. 

And we were honored to engage four outstanding woman poets from different walks of life for a cross-cultural and intergenerational reading and discussion.

Featured Poets:

  • Alicia Jo Rabins

  • Alondra Bobadilla

  • Marilyn Nelson

  • Alicia Ostriker

Moderator: Dr. Judith Rosenbaum, Jewish Women’s Archive

Sponsors:

  • Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College

  • Jewish Women’s Archive

  • Interfaith Youth Core

  • Lilith Magazine

Visit our YouTube page for more details or click on the video below to watch the full concert.

Poet Bios:

Alondra Bobadilla was born and raised in Boston, MA. Her love for writing emerged when she first learned her letters as a young cild. In addition to her writing, she has participated in multiple forms of performance art, finding different ways to express herself beyond poetry. She is a student at Fenway High School and was named Boston's first-ever Youth Poet Laureate in January 2020.

Marilyn Nelson was Poet Laureate of Connecticut from 2001-2006, has been a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and Poet-in-Residence of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and has been awarded the Frost Medal, the NSK Neustadt Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. 

Alicia Ostriker is a poet, scholar, and critic who writes Jewish feminist poetry. She has been called "America's most fiercely honest poet" by Progressive. Additionally, she was one of the first women poets in America to write and publish poems discussing the topic of motherhood. In 2015, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2018, she was named the New York State Poet Laureate.

Alicia Jo Rabins is an award-winning writer, musician, performer and Torah teacher and the author of two poetry books, Divinity School (American Poetry Review) and Fruit Geode (Augury Books). Music/performance projects include Girls in Trouble, an indie-folk song cycle about women in Torah, and the forthcoming independent feature film, A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff.

Text Selections:

[American Journal]

Robert Hayden - 1913-1980

https://poets.org/poem/american-journal

ON RAISING CHILDREN IN A CRUMBLING WORLD

Nikita Gill

http://ebmultitudes.blogspot.com/2018...

HOMAGE TO MY HIPS

Lucille Clifton

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem...

WON’T YOU CELEBRATE WITH ME

Lucille Clifton

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem...

The Book of Love,

The Magnetic Fields

from 69 Love Songs

https://genius.com/The-magnetic-field...

PIGEON AND HAWK

Marilyn Nelson

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...

ON BREATHING

Alicia Jo Rabins

https://aliciajo.com/pandemicpoems/

HESED (“Loving-Kindness”)

Alondra Bobadilla

https://ifyc.org/article/ps-133-hesed

CHILDREN’S BLOOD

Alicia Ostriker

And through the streets the blood of children

            Ran simply, like children’s blood

                        --Pablo Neruda

And through the streets the dollars flowed

            Flowed simply, like dollars flowing

            upward from the poor to the rich

And through the streets the bullets flew

            Flew joyously, like bullets flying

            straight toward living flesh

And through the skies the drones navigated

            smoothly, like drones dreaming

            in the next life they will be chickadees

And at his console the lieutenant touched a button

            patriotically, like a lieutenant who will soon

            be promoted to captain

And in the classroom some boys joked about death

            like boys who never guess beforehand how death

            will pant hotly in their faces

And around the skirt of the house

            under the shingles termites

            were building mud towns

And through the streets the blood of children

            ran simply, like children’s blood

            for many centuries.

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

more from IFYC

The expansion is fueled by concerns over political polarization on college campuses, an infusion of funds from foundations interested in bridge-building, and a merger with IFYC, which has a track record facilitating interfaith engagement.
Ancient rabbis imagined the great chain of tradition, that went from generation to generation, as a ball that is tossed, playfully, from teacher to student. Is there a "Lasso Torah" inside a television show about a fish-out-of-water Midwestern football coach?
Studies show houses of worship have provided solace during the pandemic, but companies across the U.S. are struggling to respond to requests for religious exemptions to vaccine mandates.
Catholics leaders have urged vaccination to "protect the most vulnerable," and studies show this outreach is helping improve vaccination rates among Latino Catholics.
Across the country, people from all political divides, faiths and walks of life are coming together to help resettle Afghan refugees arriving at the borders.
The first episode of “Home Sweet Home,” which DuVernay said prioritizes curiosity over conflict, features the Wixx family — a “super queer” Black couple with three children.
Each week, we share our top 10 religion stories from journals, news sites, podcasts and magazines.
Dr. Abel Gomez: "If we’re talking about interfaith work and we want to expand the ability of communities to practice their religious ceremonies, I ask my students: if we think about the experience of Native people under the occupation of the United States, do they actually have religious freedom?"
The Fisk Jubilee Singers, based at the historically Black university founded by the abolitionist American Missionary Association and later tied to the United Church of Christ, started traveling 150 years ago on Oct. 6, 1871.
The last several months have been catastrophic for Haiti. The Aug. 14 earthquake left more than 2,200 people dead, followed by Tropical Depression Grace two days later. The country’s political sector has been in disarray & over 22,000 people have officially died during the pandemic.
Apache Stronghold will take part in a day of prayer Saturday (Oct. 9) at Oak Flat before meeting with leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation, who will offer a blessing and prayer for their travels.
It’s not just interactions with friends and families that are getting cut. Routine yet beneficial interactions with people at fitness and child care centers and volunteer organizations are also being eliminated.
Ismaili Jamatkhanas are designed to be both places of worship and community engagement, so when the chance to conduct a vaccine drive became a possibility, volunteers mobilized quickly.
Amid personal and professional crises, the author writes that she finds her Christian faith "one of the most fruitful sources of hope, even in the darkest hours."
Facebook has been a catalyst for religious communities that aren’t defined geographically. For religious leaders who connect with their flocks on the internet, the outage was a reminder to own their information.
The pedestal that propped up the statue of Junipero Serra looks bare at first glance, but once a smartphone camera is aimed toward it, an animated monument honoring the Tongva, the Indigenous people of Los Angeles, comes alive.
A Lutheran church in Wisconsin recently hosted an interfaith dialogue between a pagan and Lutheran pastor. They will continue the conversation this month in an event hosted by the Parliament of the Worlds Religions in Chicago.
The articles and videos are by and about inspiring Latinx/a/o interfaith leaders from diverse religious communities.
Our top 10 religion stories of the week show religious pluralism as an opportunity, not a cause for despair. They're also great reads.
The law, possibly the first of its kind in the nation, is part of a larger effort by women athletes to have more say about what they wear while competing.
"We are American faith leaders from six different faith traditions, including yours," said a letter to President Joe Biden. "We see our nation continuing to spectacularly fail in welcoming the stranger."

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.