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

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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.