Author Archives: Richard Jeffrey Newman

The Ethics of Bearing Witness in Poetry to Violence and Trauma

The issues raised when one chooses to make literary art out of trauma are complex and, as have issues surrounding trauma in general, they have been getting more and more attention. Over at the Ploughshares blog, for example, Tracy Strauss has … Continue reading

Posted in Writing | 4 Comments  

The Pleasure and Pain of Starting Over

One of the things I decided to do when I signed with Guernica Editions to publish my second full-length book of poetry was totally revamp my website, not just its look, but its organization and content as well. I’ve been … Continue reading

Posted in Writing | 2 Comments  

I Just Learned About the Equal Justice Initiative – If You Don’t Know About It, You Should

In “The Lines That Antisemitism and Racism Draw,” a series of letters I composed during the summer of 2016 that were published in December of that year, I wrote about the stolpersteine, an art project started by the German artist Gunter … Continue reading

Posted in anti-racism, Anti-Semitism, antiracism, Race, racism and related issues, Racism | 6 Comments  

What I Tell My Introduction-to-Creative-Writing Students on The First Day of Class

“The first duty of the writer is the rectification of names—to name things properly, for, as Kung-fu Tze [Confucius] said, ‘All wisdom is rooted in learning to call things by the right name.’” —Sam Hamill, “The Necessity to Speak” To … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, Writing | 15 Comments  

Articulating Why You Think Your Work Matters

I wish I could remember who gave me the advice that you should never submit poems with a cover letter explaining what you thought the poems were about and/or what you wanted them to accomplish. To explain, this person said, was … Continue reading

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Contract Signed! Words for What Those Men Have Done Will Be Out Later This Year

Please forgive the back-to-back self-promotional postings, but I am excited! My second book of poems, Words for What Those Men Have Done, has (finally!) found a home with Guernica Editions. The book should be out later this year. Here are the lines from which the book’s title … Continue reading

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Two of My Poems Are Up at Flatbush Review

I am very happy that Flatbush Review, a new and exciting online literary magazine, has published two of my poems, “Clean,” and “Not Yet The Women They Would Grow Up To Be.” Interestingly, they both take place in the rain. Hence, the image … Continue reading

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Everyone Who Reads Rumi in English Should Read This New Yorker Article

Written by Rozina Ali, the article is called “The Erasure of Islam from the Poetry of Rumi,” and it says something that Iranians I know have been saying for a very long time—something that I learned from them, in fact. … Continue reading

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More on the (Gender) Politics of Artificial Insemination

In order for sperm banking to become the multimillion dollar industry that it is, sperm had first to be commodified, and since commodification is both economic and cultural, that is neither a simple nor a straightforward process. As Cynthia Daniels … Continue reading

Posted in Abortion & reproductive rights | Comments Off  

Thinking Some More About Antisemitism

(Note: The image above was taken by Naomi Ellis, the mother of the family discussed in the Washington Post article I discuss briefly below.) In the context of a discussion we’re having about an essay I published recently on Unlikely Stories called … Continue reading

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