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For Educators

Jewish American Poetry
Poems, Commentary, and Reflections
Jonathan N. Barron, ed.; Eric Murphy Selinger, ed.

Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life

Brandeis University Press
2000 • 360 pp. 4 illus. 6 x 9"
Jewish Studies / Poetry / Poetry Criticism

$29.95 Paperback, 978-1-58465-043-0

"A remarkably compendious selection in a compact guise . . . A rich, readable, complex collection useful and highly recommended for all levels."—Choice

A rich and provocative overview of Jewish American poetry.

From Emma Lazarus to Allen Ginsberg, Jewish American poets have long been a presence in American poetry. Once a group of isolated voices, their number and range has grown in the last 50 years to reveal a distinct American poetic tradition. The first complete guide to the diversity and vitality of this tradition, Jewish American Poetry features poems by 26 leading poets (some written especially for this volume) followed by the poets' own reflections on the Jewish and American aspects of their work.

The second half of the book gathers ten wide-ranging essays on the history and scope of Jewish American poetry, offering an unprecedented introduction to its Yiddish and Sephardic heritage, its distinctive poetics of commentary, its Kabbalists, its feminists, and more. With a general introduction that places this literature in the contexts of both Jewish culture and American poetry, Jewish American Poetry opens the door to a much-needed discussion of the significance of the Jewish voice in American literature.

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“Jewish American Poetry is a singularly important and useful anthology. It combines a superb selection of poems with specific commentaries on them by their authors — something old and something new that is also deeply Jewish in its essential relation between text and commentary. This informed and original anthology will become an invaluable source both for scholars and lovers of poetry.”—Dana Gioia

From the Book:

"Our main goal is to announce the existence of a major contribution to American poetry: the various and increasingly self-conscious Jewish American poetic tradition. It is time for serious critical discussion about the theoretical and historical issues raised by this poetry, in terms both of Jewish culture and American poetry. But as jokes, old family quarrels, new political debates, Biblical riffs, midrashim and other verbal sparks fly from poet to poet here, and from poem to essay, essay to poem, it is also time for us, as readers, simply to enjoy." -- from the Introduction

JONATHAN N. BARRON is Associate Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi. ERIC MURPHY SELLINGER is Assistant Professor of English, DePaul University. Both have published widely in the fields of 20th-century American and Jewish American literature.

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 09:13:23 -0500