‘Jewish Poets – Jewish Voices’ resumes Jan. 23

By Eileen Wingard

Eileen Wingard

SAN DIEGO — “Jewish Poets—Jewish Voices” opens its tenth season at the Lawrence Family JCC’s Astor Judaica Library Tuesday evening, January 23, at 7 p.m., with three outstanding San Diego poets: Chris Baron, Professor of English at San Diego City College; Roger Aplon, former teacher at The Writing Center;  and Ruth Benjamin, retired teacher of Special Education.

Baron grew up in New York City, but completed his MFA in Poetry at San Diego State University.  His first book of poetry, Under the Broom Tree, was released in 2012 on City Works Press as part of Lantern Tree:Four Books of Poems, which won the San Diego Book Award for best poetry anthology. His poems have appeared in magazines and journals and he has participated in readings, lectures and panels as well as on radio. Currently, he is working on a Middle Grade novel in verse and is represented by Rena Rossner of the Deborah Harris Literary Agency.

Aplon is a native of Chicago. He attended the University of Illinois-Urbana and the University of Chicago, where he began writing poems. He co-founded CHOICE Magazine. He has lived in San Francisco, in Barcelona and in San Diego. Currently, he resides in the Hudson Valley in Beacon, New York. In 2013, he started publishing a poetry Magazine, Waymark. He has had many books of poetry published, including, Stiletto, By Dawn’s Early Light at 120 Miles Per Hour, It’s Mother’s Day, Barcelona Diary, and, more recently, It’s Only TV (2012), and Improvisations—Poetic Impressions From Contemporary Music (2017).

Benjamin was born in Brooklyn, NY and attended Hunter College for a year before marriage and motherhood. She later returned to the College of Staten Island and CUNY to complete her Bachelor’s Degree and earn a Master of Science in Special Education. For 26 years, she taught children and adults with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities. She was past 40 when she began writing poetry, much of it, inspired by her work. It is also in later life that she took up painting,  first Japanese Brush Painting, then  watercolors and jewelry. She has had five shows in local libraries and just closed a three-month Art Exhibit at the Dr. Wm Herrick Community Health Care Library in La Mesa. In addition to the poetry she will be reading, some of her art work will be displayed.

Following the hour of featured poets, there will be a half hour of open microphone for audience members to share their poems.

This year, due to increased costs for JCC programs, there will be a suggested nominal donation.

The “Jewish Poets—Jewish Voices” Committee hopes to schedule two more dates for this season, one, featuring great Jewish Poets of the Past, with the poetry of Yehuda Amichai and Chana Senesh, and another with local Jewish poets.

The committee prides itself on finding new talent each year to feature. The Lawrence Family JCC is to be congratulated for sponsoring this literary project, and encouraging the tradition of poetry writing, one that dates back to the Psalmists in the Hebrew Bible.

Wingard is a freelance writer specializing in coverage of the arts. She may be contacted via [email protected] 

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