What if we give it away?

Faith[Works] and me

I'll be ringing in Shabbat tonight in an unusual way: by reading poems, and telling the story of how Judaism and poetry come together in my life and work, as part of the Faith[Works] lecture series at Bay Path College.

My sense is that this will be a coffeehouse kind of atmosphere; we're meeting in a fireplace lounge on campus. So my intention is to speak pretty informally about the things I've done -- journalism, poetry, the feminist seder project, Inkberry, ALEPH -- and how they fit together in my life. And, every few minutes, I'll pause and read a poem that comes out of that period of my life or speaks to the themes I'm trying to highlight. Poems from/about Texas, and from/about Massachusetts. Poems from What Stays, my second chapbook (which came out of my time at Bennington.) Poems which arise out of my immersion in Jewish Renewal. Chaplaincy poems from chaplainbook. The Torah poems I'm writing now.

It's a fun way to plan a talk. Or a poetry reading. I think what I'm doing will be a little bit of each -- hopefully with enough narrative throughline to be informative for those who are considering working in any of the fields I've known, and enough poetry to make the evening feel like the kind of dip into creativity which will feel appropriately Shabbosdik to me. (In service of that goal, I'm planning to take a travel Shabbat candlestick set along, too.)

The talk is intended for the Bay Path community, and hasn't been promoted off-campus, so I probably shouldn't send a flood of readers their way. (How many of y'all live in/around Western Mass, anyway?) But I'm looking forward to the chance to share some of my work -- and to meet the students who will be there, and to find out how religion and creativity and vocation matter to each of them.

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