The thought I just can't catch

Naturally it reveals itself to me,
the thought I just can't catch,
as I highstep out of the bath.

More here.


The Popular Language that Few Bother to Learn

Will Yiddish scholarship, the eternal victim, fall prey to lackluster language learning?

Twenty years ago there were four American universities with Yiddish programs: the Jewish Theological Seminary, Harvard, Columbia, and UCLA. Now there are more than a dozen. From Michigan to Maryland, from Chicago to Santa Cruz, students are learning about Yiddish literature and culture. Interest in Yiddish is growing even as its speakers (outside Charedi enclaves) continue to decline in numbers. But interest in the topic of Yiddish does not translate into a stable foundation for teaching the language, which makes some scholars nervous about the future of Yiddish scholarship.

More here.

After the article's publication, a number of comments were published in another issue of Mendele.


An Altar Barbecue

To the barbecue of sacrifice
the hyssop branches add their spice...

...for more, become a backer here!


When our things get old

When our things weren't supposed to think so much, when they were old-school cars, squat rotary phones, and pea-colored refrigerators, they broke down because their bodies broke down. A wire shorted or a fan belt broke. Now when our things have brains bigger than ours, they do what brains do with age: break down slowly. Startup takes longer than it should, programs pop up that we want hidden away, data is corrupted, thoughts ooze slowly through the tangle of pipes.

Then the decision comes. When there is no bright flash before the burst bulb, when there is no flat tire to the thinking machine, when do we throw it away?


What should a bilingual book of poetry look like?

Should every poem be "available" in both languages -- via translation? "equivalent" poems? how? Or does there not need to be an exact symmetry? You can read what promises to be an enlightening discussion by pledging even just one thin dollar at Kickstarter and becoming a prenumerant (pre-subscriber) of my poetry manuscript.


Ode to the Dove at Words Without Borders

Trapped on the lips are sounds, like pearls of forts oceanate
are mute for thousands of years, and over the muteness—a blade.
"Dove darling, childhood's child, let the lips speak, give them speech
Become now the cry of the sounds, or else the dream is extinct . . ."

Read more.

Not in the Same Breath: A Yiddish and English Book of Poetry

Get in on the ground floor and support my nascent book of poetry over at Kickstarter!