The seder as time machine
Poetry of sacred time - a reading in Pittsfield on 3/26

In the Begining Was the Word


I had a lovely time teaching psalm-writing a few days ago. Eight people participated in the class, including some of my former students from the Inkberry days!

Now I'm gearing up for the other Berkshire Festival of Women Writers event in which I'm participating -- In the Beginning Was the Word: Reading and Panel Discussion by Women Writers of Faith -- which will be tomorrow (Monday) evening at 7pm at the First Congregational Church in Stockbridge.

In her book The Nakedness of the Fathers, poet Alicia Ostriker writes, “By the time the spiritual imagination of women has expressed itself as fully and variously as that of men, to be sure, whatever humanity means by God, religion, holiness, and truth will be completely transformed.” This multigenre reading and panel discussion will feature four Berkshire women writers—with backgrounds in Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism—whose work is influenced by their faith, either overtly or just beneath the surface. The participants will each give a short reading and speak about the intertwining of their life in writing and their life in faith.

Rachel Barenblat holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and rabbinic ordination from ALEPH: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She was cofounder and executive director of Inkberry, a literary arts center that served the Berkshires from 2000 to 2009. She is author of three poetry collections: 70 faces: Torah poemsWaiting to Unfold, and the forthcoming Open My Lips. Since 2003 she has blogged as The Velveteen Rabbi, and in 2008 her blog was named one of the top 25 on the Internet by Time. She serves Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams.

Hannah Fries is an editor at Storey Publishing in North Adams and assistant poetry editor at Her writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in American Poetry Review, the Massachusetts ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and other journals. She holds an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College.

Liz Goodman is the pastor of the UCC congregation in Monterey. She has a M.Div. from Harvard and a B.A. in creative writing from Colby College. Her publishing has mainly been professional, and her writing projects are most often in service of her ministry, but the short story still haunts her and is something she gets to from time to time.

Sokunthary Svay is a writer and musician from New York City. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, her family fled Cambodia to a Thai refugee camp, where she was born. Her writing has been anthologized in Homelands: Women’s Journeys Across Race, Place and Time, and she has also contributed articles to Hyphen, a San Francisco–based Asian American arts and culture magazine.

For a map and venue contact information, you can click through to the event description on the BFWW website. I hope to see some of y'all there!