Her Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems, 1971-2021 by Irena Klepfisz
Wesleyan University Press, December 2022
A trailblazing lesbian poet, child Holocaust survivor, and political activist whose work is deeply informed by socialist values, Irena Klepfisz is a vital and individual American voice. This book is the first complete collection of her work. For fifty years, 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. In her introduction to Klepfisz’s A Few Words in the Mother Tongue, Adrienne Rich wrote: “[Klepfisz’s] sense of phrase, of line, of the shift of tone, is almost flawless.” Irena Klepfisz taught Jewish Women’s Studies at Barnard College for 22 years. She is the author of four books of poetry, a collection of essays, and was co-editor of The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women’s Anthology. An advocate of the Yiddish language and active in its renaissance in the United States, she has published poetry and essays have appeared in Jewish Currents, Tablet Magazine, In Geveb, Sinister Wisdom, The Manhattan Review, Conditions, The Georgia Review and Languages of Modern Jewish Cultures.