Monday, July 18, 2005

Nan's List (10 poems to know)

Nan writes (the comment from below now posted above):
I don't know a lot of these [Rachel's list, see below], but I look forward to reading them. I don't think Martín Espada is Jewish, but that beautiful and fierce poem (available on his own website) certainly carries images that have been part of Jewish experience and is very much about social justice.

A poem that I think might have a similar claim to a place on the list is Adrienne Rich's "The Burning of Paper Instead of Children." Though the speaker doesn't share her neighbor's "violent emotion" over the burning of a book, the poem engages with questions of what should draw our feeling, our commitment, our action. Other Rich poems as well.

-Allen Ginsberg's "Kaddish"

-Jacqueline Osherow--can't pick without a book in front of me either, and they're in a box somewhere. Here's a recent poem on Slate, "God's Acrostic":

-Everyone ought to know Paul Celan's "Todesfugue"

-In Eavan Boland's translation of nine women poets writing in German, After Every War, there are poems we all ought to know--for example, Else Lasker-Schüler's "Mein blaues Klavier"/"My Blue Piano" and Elizabeth Langgässer's "Frühling 1946"/"Spring 1946."
Of Nan's list, I'll confess, I know only the Rich, the Ginsberg, the Celan, and a lot of Osherow. I'm missing a fair number of Rachel's picks, too. Hey--sounds like an anthology in the making, at least for me!


KapkaVictim said...

Osherow rocks! We're going to study her in a "Contemporary Poetry and Faith" special course

Yerushalimey said...

I may be a couple of years too late with this info, but according to a bio from when he gave a reading at Smith College, Martin Espada's mother was Jewish. I've seen his ethnic heritage described elsewhere (sorry, I forget where) as Puerto Rican and and Eastern European.
BUT, at workshops and readings he has said more than once that his mother was a Jehovah's Witness, remarking, "Imagine having one INSIDE the house..."