Yetzirah Featured Poet: Erika Michael
Congratulations to Erika Michael on her debut collection Letting Gravity Speak (Finishing Line Press, 2023), for which I had the pleasure of writing an endorsement: “Erika Michael’s debut collection is equal parts elegy and celebration, a book that bears witness to the loss of her beloved husband after nearly fifty years of marriage. We see two lives shaped by a curiosity that drove them to explore, from a train ride across the Pyrenees to the ‘coffee-dappled/ Danube,’ a curiosity that sustained Michael as she made a record of her husband’s final journey, from complex mathematical hypotheses to the halls of the memory care unit in which he struggled through his last days. In her grief, the world is described ‘as noiseless as our / kitchen in the morning without the clank / and hiss I crave, more silent than stones / that I’ve piled on your grave,’ yet we also watch her find her way back to wonder. Informed by Jewish prayers and practices, as well as the wisdom of a long life well-lived, these musical and searching poems exude vulnerability and dignity. Letting Gravity Speak exerts a gravity all its own.”
Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), winner of the Devil’s Kitchen and Goldie Awards, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), winner of the New Mexico Book Award and a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books/ PenguinRand...
Pick a line (or lines) that most speak to the feeling of grief in the poem. What about that line speaks to you?
Think about it
What makes this a “Jewish poem”, if at all?
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