On the Border: A Jewish Writing and Reading Workshop
Borders define and divide us. They can be sites of conflict, and they can be meeting places, where love, compassion, and kindness arise. Think of the threshold of a Jewish home, with its mezuzah affixed aslant there reminding us to love . . . and to compromise, to come together in a mutually agreed upon promise or intention, to make one out of two.
In this workshop, we’ll look at the way poems by mostly Jewish writers consider borders of all kinds: political, religious, cultural, historical, linguistic. The poets whose work we’ll consider include Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai and American-Jewish poet Jacquelyn Osherow, American-Israeli Jewish poet Peter Cole, and Palestinian-Israeli poet Taha Muhammad Ali, whose work has been translated by Cole. Our exploration of the work of others will include a variety of contemplative practices as a way of experiencing the poems deeply. We’ll talk about these poems, and then, based on what we notice in their work, we’ll write our own poems and prose exploring one or another of the borders that we as Jews encounter in our lives.
I will also share a couple of poems and works of lyrical prose from my new book, Love Nailed to the Doorpost, and copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at the conclusion of the workshop.
The workshop will be interactive, playful, and, I hope, illuminating.
Where Pleasure and Pain Meet: Jewish and Arab Poems of Co-Existence
Unlike territories and borders that divide people, poetry may offer us a place to meet. At the very least, a strong poem in and of itself may be a place where pleasure and pain meet and even co-exist. We'll see if that's the case by looking at sections of Yehuda Amichai's poem "Jerusalem, 1967", Jacquelyn Osherow's poem "Hearing News from the Temple Mount in Salt Lake City," Taha Muhammad Ali's poem "Twigs," and my poem "Enemies of Israel, Enemies of the Jews." You don't need to be a fan of poetry to experience the power of the poems we'll explore together.