National Poetry Month y Más

Feeling: "I Feel it Coming"

Over Passover, along with Jessie Rose & Jenny Johnson, I had the pleasure of helping poet and anthropologist Nomi Stone lead a Seder with her class at Princeton University (currently finishing up an essay about both Stone and the Seder). It was the first Seder I've attended in a very long time, and a reminder that poetry has the power to evolve tradition in a way nothing else can...

 With Jessi Rose, Nomi Stone and Jenny Johnson

With Jessi Rose, Nomi Stone and Jenny Johnson


For the Poetry Coalition's #WeComeFromEverything project, I contributed to Letras Latinas's Poetry & Migration feature, "It is not a Drowning," a short meditation dedicated to the incredible Emmy Pérez.

My long poem "What Hangs on the Side of the Mouth" was published in 3 parts: "Savage the rain falling..." in Thrush; "Your grandmother has never seen..." in Nightjar Review; & "Amaranthine & thinning the mist" in The Iowa Review.

I have two poems over at Hobart: "Signals" and "When We Grow Up Our Hearts Don't Have to Die." 

For The Kenyon Review, I covered:

  •  AWP 17 & challenges of having meaningful conversations in public spaces
  • "Ice girls" & the first ice hockey game I ever attended
  • A belated valentine to difficult loves, strange nests of language & crises of faith
  • When grief is what almost happens— and did.
  • "Voyager I Am Singing the Fire" my fellow Jews, for all poets, for especially poets of the tundra, for all Diasporists, for those who'd risk everything for the fire.
  • On April Fool's Day, the giraffes were in charge, and turned out be all poets
  • For National Poetry Month, fellow poets Ricardo Maldonado, Virginia Konchan, Victoria Chang, Sam Sax and Becca Klaver joined me in sharing what editors have championed our work. 

I also had the pleasure of taking part of Poetry in Motion's The Poet Is in:

Thanks to MTA Arts & Design for taking these of photos from the event!

I have a few readings left for National Poetry Month which you can find here

Call for Submissions: TUNDRAS

I'm guest editing a special issue on TUNDRAS for Glass Poetry. Submissions open through May 31, 2017.  See below for more information & submit here.

In a new international study, life in the Arctic is at a perilous crossroads: "Some Arctic waters are already becoming dead zones bereft of oxygen. Lakes are collapsing as permafrost beneath them melts." While the president is going after NASA's climate researchers although they continue to publish and share their findings, the current U.S. administration has also taken words like ice and voice, and maligned them with xenophobic, hateful rhetoric. Guest editor Rosebud Ben-Oni and Glass Poetry Press invite poets to take back these words, to tell us of their sensory of snow, their winter year(s), the depths and lengths of the times they were, or had to remain, under sheets frozen and partially-obscured. Tell us what you managed to grow in your tundras, what you discovered in the days where little light reached, where light was (is) cut short. What voices you hear in the ice. How it feels to stand on ground that could so easily melt away. We invite you to interpret this any way you like.

Tundras is scheduled for publication in September, 2017.

AWP Week, Poem-ing at New York Botanical Gardens y Más

Feeling: "Me & You"

(New song by Jung Joon Young :: Video featuring actors Joo Woojae & Han Eun Seo)

Headed for Washington D.C. this week. I'm on 2 panels at AWP, and signing copies of my book at the Latinx Caucus table; Carolina Ebeid & I switched dates, so I'm there on Friday & she on Thursday, both at noon.


Post-AWP, next Sunday on February 12th, I'll be back in NYC & writing short love poems for garden-goers at The New York Botanical Garden's Valentines & Verse Weekend from 1-5 PM. 

I also had some new poems come out since the beginning of this year: 

My weekly essays for The Kenyon Review include:

Read some poems over at Studio A at WKCR 89.9 FM over at Columbia University & they archived it here.

I've also created a poetry-only Twitter account that focuses on highlighting new contemporary poetry. Follow at @ShesFullofStars



Make 'em Whistle like a Missile

Feeling: "Whistle"

A few days into 2017, I'm still working my way through a number of poetry collections that came out in 2016. (Coming soon on The Conversantconversations with poets (Break the Habit, Trio House Press, 2016) & Vanessa Gabb (Images for Radical Politics, Rescue Press 2016). Stay tuned for that.) 

These past few months, I continued to write weekly for The Kenyon Review blog, including a two-part series on poet Carolina Ebeid's debut collection You Ask me To Talk About the Interior, out from Noemi Press. The first part "In Errata We Excavate Our Interiors" examines the idea of allegiances when one's identity is complex, and why the best poets think like scientists; the second "If in Poetry We Are What Would Replace Us" is a meditation on why real change is a very possible & palpable now within the realm of poets like Carolina.

Other essays I wrote for The Kenyon Review include "Call Her Esperanza: On Resistance & Writing" which explores resistance, happiness and the work of poet Loma; "Strangers Meant (to be) Un-stranged" which seeks to un-strange the stranger, why we should "go wrong", and the work of Vincent Toro; and "When It’s Not Our World Anymore What Will We Hear: On Empathy" which I wrote in the wake of the election, on losing my keys and nearly my empathy, on the evolutionary grace of orcas, and finding solace in my fellow poets. 

I had several poems come out which are available online:

My poem "On Childbearing" also appeared in Prairie Schooner's Fall 2016 print issue.

The Shallow Ends nominated my poem "And All the Songs We Are Meant to Be" for a Pushcart Prize. Special thanks to Glass Poetry Press for including this poem on their 2016 Recommended Reading List, and to Luther Hughes for including my poem "All That Is and Is Not Nuclear Is Our Family" in his "10 Poems That Haunted the **** Outta Me in 2016."

2016 felt like two years shoved into one; here's some highlights of that year.

Have some readings set up for January, and then onto AWP in DC!

I'm Teaching a Poetry Workshop at Poets House

I'm teaching a poetry workshop this fall at Poets House!

Borders and Identity: The Poetics of Place with Rosebud Ben-Oni

How do borders shape poetry and the poetic self? Can existing divisions generate new spaces for creativity? This workshop will explore the dynamics existing within and arising out of different kinds of borders not only geographical but also racial, ethnic, sexual, familial and linguistic. We will also examine how contemporary poets breathe new life into traditional forms such as the aubade and the ode through the use of borders to subvert existing dominant narratives and bear witness to current events. Students will write and share work, drawing inspiration from various poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Tara Betts, Eduardo C. Corral, Ocean Vuong and Cornelius Eady.

Wednesdays from October 12 - November 16, 2016, 6:00PM to 8:30PM

Register here.

A Look at Kaveh Akbar's Work & a Meditation on Grief on The Kenyon Review

My last three essays over at The Kenyon Review have been some of the most difficult but also joyous to write. 

 Kaveh Abkar

Kaveh Abkar

The first, "Orchids We Have Been: On the Transformative Power of Longing", is the first of a two-part series on the work of Kaveh Akbar, one of my favorite contemporary poets. It explores orchids, devotion, longing and how such a world that quite suddenly, has always been, that world that is Kaveh and poetry and transformation itself. 

The second, "Even If Parts of You Go Missing Forever", considers the ideas of survival and happiness, and those times when the abyss is calling for you, but the unknown in you is stronger.

(The series also got a shout-out from Harriet over on The Poetry Foundation!)

I ended the week with "Is Grief a Waiting," which looked at grief as a collective consciousness, a bridge, a connection we sometimes miss We've all lost those we can't let go; maybe we don't have to.

It's been an incredible summer; last week, I read with CantoMundo poets Eddie Martinez, Sheila Maldonado and Celeste Mendoza (hosted by Deborah Paredez) for the Dodge Poetry Festival's Lunchtime in the Park series. Here's a couple of photos from the event:

 Top row: CantoMundo Founders Deborah Paredez and Celeste Mendoza  Bottom row; CantoMundo Fellows Rosebud Ben-Oni, Eddie Martinez and Sheila Maldonado 

Top row: CantoMundo Founders Deborah Paredez and Celeste Mendoza

Bottom row; CantoMundo Fellows Rosebud Ben-Oni, Eddie Martinez and Sheila Maldonado 

 Post-Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival/ CantoMundo reading — with Eddie Martinez, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Sheila Maldonado, Paula Neves, Celeste Guzman Mendoza and Deborah Paredez at Fornos Restaurant, in Newark, NJ.

Post-Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival/ CantoMundo reading — with Eddie Martinez, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Sheila Maldonado, Paula Neves, Celeste Guzman Mendoza and Deborah Paredez at Fornos Restaurant, in Newark, NJ.

Also elated to announce I'll be teaching a poetry workshop at Poets House in the Fall! Details to follow...


Take My Online Poetry Workshop at Literary Kitchen

I'm teaching a 6-week online poetry workshop for Literary Kitchen on "Reframing the Form: Experimental Approaches to Form Poetry." Runs October 22 – December 3.

How can poets experiment with traditional forms of poetry so that they speak of the world today? How can we use poetry to sing our own personal griefs and our loves, as well bear witness to those current events which affect us most? In this workshop, we will explore contemporary and innovative approaches to the ghazal, the elegy, the sestina and more. Students will write and share work, drawing inspiration through the work of poets like Patricia Smith, Larry Levis, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jamila Woods and Aracelis Girmay.

Note: this is a workshop for all students. No previous experience with writing form poetry required.

For more info and registration, click here.

The Longest Days & Feelings Go Up

Feeling: "How's This?"

I had a wonderful time at our Queens Book Festival panel yesterday, moderated by Monica McClure and featuring Taye Diggs, Miko Branch, Sai Lai Abrams and yours truly.

Here are some pictures from the event:

 Speaking at our panel with Miko Branch, Sai Lai Abrams and Taye Diggs

Speaking at our panel with Miko Branch, Sai Lai Abrams and Taye Diggs

 Monica McClure, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Miko Branch, Sai Lai Abrams and Taye Diggs

Monica McClure, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Miko Branch, Sai Lai Abrams and Taye Diggs

 With poet Ekere Tallie at the 2016 Queens Books Festival

With poet Ekere Tallie at the 2016 Queens Books Festival

 With poet Monica McClure at the 2016 Queens Books Festival

With poet Monica McClure at the 2016 Queens Books Festival

I have a few poems out in Waxwing: "From The Last Great Adventure Is You" and "If This Is the Age We End Discovery" and in Triquarterly: "Odisea".

I guest-edited a special issue for Queen Mobs Teahouse, New Planets :: New Worlds , featuring the work of poets David Campos, Tara Betts, Brian Michael Murphy, Hila Ratzabi, Vanessa Jimenez Gabb and more. Here's my editor's letter introducing the issue.

I'm still writing weekly for The Kenyon Review, and here are some of my favorite essays that I've written these last few months:

* all the pretty horses *

Feeling: "Whole Wide World" 

Just got back from a great time at Split This Rock 2016 Poetry Festival. I moderated and read in the panel reading Queer Pan-Latinidad: A LBGTQ Latina/o Poetry Reading with Nívea Castro, Denice Frohman, Rigoberto González, Darrel Alejandro Holnes and Ruben Quesada

And another reading for the Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace anthology with Sandra Beasley, Jan Beatty, Martha Collins, Susan Eisenberg, Bonnie Morris, Marianne Szlyk, Cindy Williams Gutiérrez, Laura Madeline Wiseman and Carolyne Wright.

Currently finishing up my latest Kenyon Review posts on Icelandic horses and the Northern Lights after a life-changing trip to Iceland. Some of my favorite essays I've written these last few months for Kenyon include:

"The Weight that Will Make Us Planets" on all sorts of love, long-distances, orchid-speak and other translations and why we must experience different states to see what best to exist.

"When You Became the Ghost in Her" on illness, my husband who staked his life on me during the worst of it and that neurologist we always ended up seeing in the ER in the middle of the night, her tools-heavy pockets, her arms ready to catch me if I fell.

"In Nothing Too There Are Seasons" on hauntings, rebellions and strange seasons that might herald new strange worlds within us as poets and artists.

"The Eros of Bees" on eroticism of insects and all those times I wanted to be stung.

I also wrote essays on:

Temporary Passings/ Possessions: On Hitchcock's Vertigo and Carlotta Valdes in which I reexamined the stocktype "Hitchcock blonde," the "story" of Carlotta Valdes and the dangers rewriting historical pain (with some thoughts on Oscars 2016 and that horrifying children's book A Fine Dessert).

I wrote a series of lyrical essays in response to Yael Hedaya's debut collection of novellas:

I wrote about my chronic insomnia and that time I tagged the name of God in Hebrew School in "Under the Eye of the Name: On Writing and Insomnia."

Lastly I wrote "CantoMundo: Graduation Day" as a love letter to CantoMundo, taken from a letter written during my final retreat in 2015.


In February, I was Poet of the Week over at Brooklyn Poets (for whom I read in February), and shared my poem "Self-Portrait as Golem" and answered some interview questions.

I also have a new poem in berfrois "I Love You From Another Star."

I'm currently guest editing a special issue of Queen Mob's Teahouse on New Worlds :: New Planets, and it hopefully will go live very soon!

I'm Teaching a Poetry Workshop at Poets House

I'm teaching a 6-week poetry workshop at Poets House starting February 20th! 

(Power) Ballads and Ceremonials: A Poetry and Pop Workshop with Rosebud Ben Oni

How can popular culture shape your poetry and create a unique voice? What does the intersection of media and art reveal about your multiple selves—explored through slang, dialect and code-switching—and personal truths such as political stance and gender identity? In this workshop, we will analyze the work of contemporary poets such as Tara Betts, Angel Nafis, Alex Dimitrov, Lucille Clifton, Lynn Melnick and Adam Fitzgerald, who utilize popular culture, in order to fuel creativity and spark discussion on how poetry informs and responds to social and political ideologies. During each session students will write and share work, drawing inspiration from various forms of media and text such as photography, film, dance, music videos and more.


February 20, 2016 - 11:30AM to 2:00PM

February 27, 2016 - 11:30AM to 2:00PM

March 5, 2016 - 11:30AM to 2:00PM

March 12, 2016 - 11:30AM to 2:00PM

March 19, 2016 - 11:30AM to 2:00PM

March 26, 2016 - 11:30AM to 2:00PM


Click here to find out more information

Click here to register



EVENT TYPE: Workshops, Master Classes and Residencies


New Year, New Work and Joining the Board of AJLI

Happy New Year! It is my pleasure to announce I'll be joining the Board of AJLI, an organization that awards scholarships to Jewish students and supports diversity and multiculturalism in the Jewish communities. I am a former AJLI recipient so it's a wonderful honor to pay it forward. 

I have 3 new poems in The Volta on the first day of 2016!

My last 2015 essays for The Kenyon Review:

  • The last installment of my 4-part series on "Notes on Love and Violence: Coda" examines gun culture and why dehumanizing children is the worst crime one can commit.

My Kenyon Review Essays: a Year in Review

In response to the mass shootings this year, I'm writing a 4-part series "Notes on Love and Violence." Here's Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

I wrote about temporarily living in Rehavia, when I was wandering in Jew in Jerusalem in "The Silence of Syrian Rue"

Exploring that particularly strange sense of happiness of artists, I wrote about Amos Oz's My Michael and forgiveness in "Stranger in the Midrahov."

Artist Michael Hafftka's work has shaped me as a poem, especially his Zohar paintings, and I wrote about him and our friendship in "The Balance Hangs in a Place That Is Not."

I wrote about Elena Shvarts, a young Russian woman whom I lived with one summer and "passing" in Jerusalem in "Hello from the Other Side."

For Halloween, I wrote about 28 Days Laterand invited fellow poets and writers to tell us what terrifies them.

The year I discovered Gimpel the Fool was the same year strange things befell my childhood home; read about it here in "Dybbuk or Ibbur: Midnight Dances with Isaac Bashevis Singer."

Aviv Geffen's music shaped my young political conscience, and I wrote about him and my dream of a united, multicultural, multi-religious and above all tolerant Levant in "Uri Ur: On Aviv Geffen and Impossible Homelands."

What began it all? My three-part series on the High Holy Days: "On Books and Silence: Why I Cannot Pray on Rosh Hashanah"; "Not-Quite Goodbye (Aseret Yemei Yeshiva)" and "On the Wings of a Power Ballad: Yom Kippur and Atonement"

Still to come for December: an essay on Sholem Aleichem and more!



{S T I L L} A N * I S L A N D * G I R L

Feeling: "Love"

I'm now writing weekly over at The Kenyon Review! I began with a 3-part series of essays on the Jewish High Holy Days: 

I contributed some words to the Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog on "What is Literary Activism?" curated by Amy King.

My latest project over at The Conversant was a "{Power} Ballads" roundtable featuring CantoMundo poets J. Michael Martinez, Juan Morales, Diego Baez, Darrel Alejandro Holnes and Octavio Quintanilla. We talk traditional ballads, but also Gwar, GN'R, Cyndi Lauper, Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality," and which of us did and did not call to ORDER NOW the greatest of "Monster Ballads."

My reading on Queer Latindad has been accepted for the 2016 Split This Rock Festival; joining me are poets Ruben Quesada, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Denice Frohman and Nivea Castro. I'll also be reading for the "Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace Reading."

I'm teaching an 8-week poetry workshop at Eckleburg Workshops starting October 4th. Learn more here.

I'm also a judge for Essay Press's Inaugural Chapbook Contest. Find out more here

New Poetry + Pop Workshop - Begins in October!

I'm teaching my Poetry & Pop Culture Writing Workshop over at Literary Kitchen (Note to poets who took my spring workshop: Prompts and exercises are all new, so come on back and pick up where you left off.) Runs October 24 – December 5. See description below.

How can popular culture shape your poetry and create a unique voice? This 6-week workshop will lead writers through a series of questions, prompts and exercises utilizing existing popular culture to help craft poems. Students will offer feedback on each other’s work. We will also analyze existing poems that utilize popular culture, in order to better fuel creativity and spark discussion on how poetry informs and responds to social and political ideologies. Sign up here.