Second post at poetree: on poetry, Judaism, and being (or not being) a religious poet
Torah poems for this week's portion, Yitro

A lovely review of 70 faces in Lilith!


Deep thanks to Lilith, the awesome magazine of feminism and Judaism, for the generous review of 70 faces, my collection of Torah poems  (Phoenicia Publishing, 2011). The review appeared in the Fall 2011 issue, alongside reviews of poetry collections by Linda Pastan, Merle Feld, and Adrienne Rich. (What company to keep! And as it happens, I reviewed this same collection of Merle's in Zeek a while back.)

Here's an excerpt from the Lilith review:

Rachel Barenblat's 70 faces: Torah poems also wrestles with the question of memory but from within the collective traditions of the Torah. The title of the project comes from a passage of Bemidbar Rabbah, "There are seventy faces to Torah: Turn it and turn it, for everything is in it." Barenblat turns through the old characters and narratives of the Torah as though she is holding a prism in light: her modes are distinctly personal and shine with her understanding of life as a woman, rabbi, wife, and mother. She places herself in the predominantly male tradition of midrash (exegetical stories that seek to understand scripture) and she asserts her own voice in this rich lineage. What unfolds is a set of poems, one for each Torah portion, that speaks to body, ritual, complex, familial relationships, and the very act of writing...

If this review makes you want to read the book, of course, you're always welcome to pick up a copy of 70 faces -- if you click on that link, you'll be taken to the publisher's website, where you can look inside the book, read some of the poems, hear me reading some of the poems aloud, and buy a copy directly from Phoenicia. (It's also available on Amazon, though the publisher and I each make a few more pennies if you buy from Phoenicia direct. Do what's best for you, though; what I really want is for people to read the poems!)

Thanks, Lilith -- as a longtime reader, it's really lovely to see my work reviewed in your pages.