For fifty years, Irena Klepfisz has written powerful, searching poems about relatives murdered during the war, recent immigrants, a lost Yiddish writer, a Palestinian boy in Gaza, and various people in her life. A trailblazing lesbian poet, child Holocaust survivor, and political activist whose work is deeply informed by socialist values, Klepfisz is a vital and individual American voice. Klepfisz's new book, Her Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems, 1971-2021, is the first and only complete collection of her work.
Join The Workers Circle and YIVO for an online conversation with Irena Klepfisz and Julie Enszer celebrating this new book.
About the Speakers
Irena Klepfisz (Brooklyn, NY) recently retired after 22 years of teaching Jewish Women's Studies at Barnard College. She is the author of four books of poetry including Periods of Stress, Keeper of Accounts, Different Enclosures, A Few Words in the Mother Tongue, and Dreams of an Insomniac (prose). She is one of the foremost advocates of the Yiddish language. A co-editor of The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology, her work has appeared in In Geveb, Sinister Wisdom, Jewish Currents, Conditions, The Manhattan Review, The Village Voice, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Chicago Review, and more.
Julie R. Enszer, PhD, is a scholar and a poet. Her scholarship is at the intersection of U.S. history and literature with particular attention to twentieth century U.S. feminist and lesbian histories, literatures, and cultures. She edits and publishes Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal, and a regular book reviewer for the The Rumpus and Calyx. In 2022, she published two books; OutWrite: The Speeches that Shaped LGBTQ Literary Culture with Rutgers University Press and Fire-Rimmed Eden: Selected Poems by Lynn Lonidier with Nightboat Books. Her scholarly book manuscript, A Fine Bind, is a history of lesbian-feminist presses from 1969 until 2009. Her scholarly work has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Cultures, Journal of Lesbian Studies, American Periodicals, WSQ, and Frontiers.