Post­ed by Nao­mi Firestone-Teeter

Poet­ry col­lec­tions from Cana­da, New Jer­sey, Rus­sia (via NY), New Hamp­shire, and the Bay Area…

Singing Me Home, Car­ol Lip­szyc (Octo­ber 2010, Inan­na Publications)

from Hebrew School”, p. 5

We chase pin-point dots
up, down and around
the topog­ra­phy of black, square script.

Fol­low the Ni-kku-dot, chil­dren,
mar­ry vow­els to the con­so­nants,
and sound the words out.…”

God’s Opti­mism, Yehoshua Novem­ber (Novem­ber 2010, Main Street Rag)

How a Place Becomes Holy”, p.25

Some­times a man
will start cry­ing in the mid­dle of the street,
with­out know­ing why or for whom.
It is as thought some­one else is stand­ing there,
hold­ing his brief­case, wear­ing hist coat.

And from beneath the rust of years,
come to his tongue the words of his child­hood:
I’m sor­ry,” and god,” and Do not be far from me.”

And just as sud­den­ly the tears are gone,
and the man walks back into his life,
and the place where he cried becomes holy.

Russ­ian for Lovers, Mari­na Blit­shteyn (Feb­ru­ary 2011, Argos Books)

Э”, p. 34

what can you tell me about the jew­ish ques­tion?”
do you miss the land or the lan­guage the most?”
whose sto­ry are you speak­ing now?”
do you know any­one with a sovi­et fetish?”
how many friends did you leave there?”
when did you become a cit­i­zen?”
where is your accent?”
why did you come?”

Work­ing in Flour, Jeff Fried­man (Jan­u­ary 2011, Carnegie Mel­lon Uni­ver­si­ty Press)

from I Did It”, p. 13

I took all the free sam­ples
at the choco­late shop
even though the lady
behind the counter frowned
after my first hand­ful
and tried to wrest
the bas­ket from my grip. I walked out
with­out buy­ing a sin­gle choco­late,
though I had sat there for hours
sip­ping hot water through a straw.
I know what you think: I give Jews
a bad name, even though I’m small
and fur­ry like a nice pet,
except for the hack­les
and jagged teeth,
which some­times wound my lips.

Chap­ter & Verse: Poems of Jew­ish Iden­ti­ty, Dan Belm, Rose Black, Chana Bloch, Rafael­la Del Bour­go, Mar­garet Kauf­man, Jacque­line Kudler, Melanie Maier, Mur­ray Sil­ver­stein, Susan Ter­ris, Sim Warkov (Jan­u­ary 2011, Con­flux Press)

Sim Warkov’s Sab­bath at Star­bucks in Los Gatos”, p. 23

… and lanky fil­lies in low-slung jeans
swish by my table
Asian tat­toos two inch­es above the cleft
abs taut as all hell–
and I ral­ly to their full-frontal views
and I’m in awe of these fra­grant pagans
flaunt­ing their youth arm’s length
from small-town Dad­dy Mom­my
Father Joe and Sis­ter Tere­sa
and I jazz the sec­u­lar Eng­lish
at the very hour my grand­fa­ther
the Zay­deh would be study­ing
a page of Tal­mud in Hebra­ic Ara­ma­ic
at a shul near Bur­rows Avenue
when I was a kid in cor­duroy britches.

Orig­i­nal­ly from Lan­cast­er, Penn­syl­va­nia, Nao­mi is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil. She grad­u­at­ed from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty with degrees in Eng­lish and Art His­to­ry and, in addi­tion, stud­ied at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don. Pri­or to her role as exec­u­tive direc­tor, Nao­mi served as the found­ing edi­tor of the JBC web­site and blog and man­ag­ing edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World. In addi­tion, she has over­seen JBC’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, and also devel­oped the JBC’s Vis­it­ing Scribe series and Unpack­ing the Book: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Conversation.