Radical Poets Set Jewishness Adrift

Edited by Stephen Paul Miller and Daniel Morris
University of Alabama Press, 2010

bookDon’t let the title dissuade you from reading this provocative book. The poets and thinkers represented here, many of them groundbreakers in American literature and thought, don’t know what it means either. That’s the point — to define these terms so as to answer a question that has not yet been posed in American poetry: what is radical Jewish poetry and how is it related to secular Jewish culture?

In good talmudic fashion, editors Stephen Miller and Daniel Morris and their writers tease out the original question into a whole host of them, provoking lively discussion that often addresses some of the most pressing concerns of secular Jews today. What does it mean to claim a Jewish identity or to say that one is a Jewish poet? What is secular Judaism? And is it, in some circumstances, paradoxically religious? When is the intense scrutiny of texts a secular rather than a religious activity?


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Emily Warn’s latest book is Shadow Architect, an exploration of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. She most recently served as the founding editor of poetryfoundation.org, and now lives in Seattle where she teaches and writes.

Source Citation

Warn, Emily. 2011. Radical Poets Set Jewishness Adrift. Tikkun 26(3).

tags: Books, Judaism, Poetry, Reviews   
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