On March 16, 2020, Tirzah Goldenberg sent Norman Finkelstein a poem she had written ending with the line "all's arc's dark door to Torah." Finkelstein responded with a poem of his own that began with Goldenberg's line, followed by a simple question: "Your turn?" So began an extraordinary poetic dialogue. The two poets, who were already conducting an intense email correspondence focusing on their Jewish identities, had discovered a poetic form through which they could enter a shared "shtetl of the soul." Months later, after composing a total of thirty-six poems (two times eighteen, twice chai, life times two), Goldenberg and Finkelstein realized that they had collaborated on a book, a book written in what the great Jewish American novelist Cynthia Ozick had long ago called "New Yiddish." Jagged, telegraphic, yet intensely lyrical, often swerving into the Hebrew of Torah and Talmud, this is a book of the Jewish past and the Jewish present, of ordinary life and of mystical apprehension.
Poetry. Jewish Studies.
Norman Finkelstein is a poet, critic, and Emeritus Professor of English at Xavier University. The author of twelve books of poetry and six books of literary criticism, he is widely published in the fields of modern poetry and Jewish literature. He writes and edits the poetry review blog Restless Messengers (www.poetryinreview.com).
Tirzah Goldenberg is the author of ALEPH (Verge Books, 2017) and Like an Olive (forthcoming from Verge Books). She lives by the sea with her husband Rico and their cat Fennel.
Author City: CINCINNATI, OH USA