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Songs of the Grass: Exploring Jewish Eco-Poetry
October 20, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EDT
An event every week that begins at 12:00 pm on Thursday, repeating until November 17, 2022
“Each and every grass has a song” – Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav
The Jewish environmental movement has sought to excavate and breathe new life into ancient texts that call us to right relationship with this fragile and holy earth. Jewish poets vividly describe the human encounter with plants, animals, and the elements where they often find intimations of the Divine or cause for protest on behalf of the non-human world. Together we’ll read poetry and other Jewish writings that will inspire our own experiments with eco-poetry. Some poets we will read include Marge Piercy, Muriel Rukeyser, Alicia Ostriker, Adrienne Rich, Denise Levertov, Stanley Moss, Stuart Kestenbaum, Phillip Levine, Mónica Gomery, and more! We’ll engage in writing exercises, some of which will take us outside to our local environments to allow us to listen to, and translate, the voices of the earth. You will come away with a deepened appreciation for Jewish wisdom on the environment and a number of poem drafts that will help you envision your personal Torah of the earth.
Hila Ratzabi is the author of the poetry collection There Are Still Woods, forthcoming in September 2022 from June Road Press. She holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from Barnard College, a BA in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary (Double Degree Program, 2003), and an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College (2007). Her poetry is published in a variety of literary journals and in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry and Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. Her articles have appeared in publications including The Wisdom Daily, MyJewishLearning.com, the Jewish Daily Forward, Kveller, Alma, and Zeek. Ratzabi is Director of Virtual Content & Programs at Ritualwell.org and lives in Oak Park, Il., outside Chicago, with her spouse and two children.
All sessions will be recorded and sent to participants. We encourage live attendance for you to get the most out of the experience.