The poet Yisroel Shtern was reluctant to publish his own work, writing about the ‘over-proliferation of books on this planet.’ Only in 2014 did a true collection of Shtern’s work appear.
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub left the ultra-Orthodox community, but that is not the subject of his poems. Rather, Taub’s experience of change makes him able to perceive it in others.
Elinor Nauen is Manhattan’s unofficial poet laureate of cars and baseball. Her newest book, “So Late Into the Night,” is a rollicking road trip on the model of Byron’s “Don Juan,” with over 600 stanzas of ottava rima about Derek Jeter (her non-Platonic obsession), road trips, her husband, morning minyan and herself. Nauen chatted with The Arty Semite about moving to New York from South Dakota, writing about shul, and whether Derek Jeter will ever read her poems.
Each Thursday, The Arty Semite features excerpts and reviews of the best contemporary Jewish poetry. This week, Zackary Sholem Berger reviews “70 Faces” by Rachel Barenblat.
The editors at ZEEK recently came out with a poetry manifesto. Since the journal devotes significant space to poetry, and there are precious few publications which consider Jewish poetry in a serious way, I looked forward to their treatment of the subject. I glanced at the last paragraph and saw that the authors wanted to “blast open the possibility of what Jewish poetry can be” — certainly an ambitious goal. I hoped that the manifesto would tell us how.
There are many bilingual Jewish books in which the two languages are dependent on each other. The Gemara is a mostly Aramaic reworking of the Hebrew-language Mishnah. The stories of Reb Nachman of Breslov were told in Yiddish, but their first written versions were in Hebrew. The majority of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s work is now best known not in the original Yiddish, but in the English into which Singer reworked his stories.
Hilary Putnam is one of the 20th century’s most influential philosophers, known worldwide for his many contributions to diverse areas of philosophy, from ethics to philosophy of mind to the relationship between science and the real world. Equally well known among his peers is his willingness to revise and reflect on his own beliefs.
In 1941, the Jews of Vilna were herded into a ghetto. By 1943, most of the Jews in this ghetto were killed, despite the armed resistance of a few.
Jerome Groopman is a physician and clinical scientist at Harvard, a specialist in AIDS and cancer. He’s also a writer for The New Yorker, with a successful and thought-provoking series of books on such topics as the intersection of spirituality and medicine and the importance of a physician’s intuition. His new book “How Doctors Think” asks the question: Why do doctors make mistakes, and how can we keep them from happening? Zackary Sholem Berger asked him about Judaism, medicine and the doctor-patient partnership.
Mordkhe Schaechter, a linguist, lexicographer and rebbe of secular Yiddishists, died February 15. He was 79.