Queer Expectations: A Genealogy of Jewish Women's Poetry

Queer Expectations: A Genealogy of Jewish Women's Poetry

Book Celebration and Poetry Reading with Author Zohar Weiman-Kelman, Irena Klepfisz, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum (Congregation Beth Simchat Torah), Sarah Chinn (Hunter College, CUNY), Roni Mazal (NYU).

Co-Sponsored with YIVO.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 7:00 pm

$10 general ● $5 students/AJHS members/seniors ● $12 at the door

Jewish women have had a fraught relationship with history, struggling for inclusion while resisting their limited role as (re)producers of the future. In Queer Expectations, Zohar Weiman-Kelman shows how Jewish women writers turned to poetry to write new histories, developing “queer expectancy” as a conceptual tool for understanding how literary texts can both invoke and resist what came before. Bringing together Jewish women’s poetry from the late nineteenth century, the interwar period, and the 1970s and 1980s, Weiman-Kelman takes readers on a boundary-crossing journey through works in English, Yiddish, and Hebrew, setting up encounters between writers of different generations, locations, and languages. Queer Expectations highlights genealogical lines of continuity drawn by authors as diverse as Emma Lazarus, Kadya Molodowsky, Leah Goldberg, Anna Margolin, Irena Klepfisz, and Adrienne Rich. These poets push back against heteronormative imperatives of biological reproduction and inheritance, opting instead for connections that twist traditional models of gender and history. Looking backward in queer ways enables new histories to emerge, intervenes in a troubled present, and gives hope for unexpected futures.

Queer Expectations is one of the most original books of literary analysis, historiography, biography, and queer theory I have ever read. Its originality and its methodology turn traditional ways of thinking about literary analysis, questions of influence, and what queer can mean upside down. This is a truly brilliant book.” — Evelyn Torton Beck, editor of Nice Jewish Girls: A Lesbian Anthology, Revised and Updated Edition

Zohar Weiman-Kelman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Literature and Linguistics at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

AJHS is home to the Emma Lazarus Papers, famously including a handwritten version of Lazarus’ The New Colossus.