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 blogging on WordPress since 2004, when my first book of translations was published, but my “online face,” as it were, has always been the face of the blog. Whatever I’ve accomplished as a writer—the books and other work I’ve published, the interviews I’ve given, news coverage I’ve gotten—all of that and more was pretty much hidden behind the far-more-complex-than-necessary network of menus and links that had evolved over the years. I wanted to take the opportunity this new book would offer me to create a website where it would be much easier for people to find out who I am and what I’ve done as a writer, not just as a blogger—and that would also allow me to keep the website up to date in a more organized and efficient way than I’ve been able to do in the past.

Making this happen was not a simple process, as it required me to gather and organize everything I’ve done dating back to 1989, when I published my first article in the-unfortunately-long-defunct Changing Men. Then, because I didn’t have the money to pay a web designer to redo my website for me, I needed to find a WordPress theme that was not only easy on the eyes, but also powerful and flexible and easy enough to learn that I could manage it all by myself.1 Finally, I needed to figure out how to structure the site to accomplish what I wanted, and then I had to take the time build it.

I relaunched the website some weeks ago, and I am very happy with the results, even the fact that I screwed up entirely the process of transferring my blog posts from the old site to the new one. That might seem an odd thing to say, especially since I’ve written more than ten years worth of content, but the screw up has given me a chance to look through what I’ve written and to think more clearly and systematically than I have ever done before about my blog’s content—especially now that it is not merely a personal blog. So, I have been reading through my old posts to see which ones I think are worth reposting, which ones I will archive because I might some day have use for them, and which ones I will consign to the trash. The first three reposts (1, 2, 3) are relatively recent ones that tell the story of my experience with antisemitism from third through twelfth grades—the kind of thing I think it has become ever more important to talk about since the campaign and election of Donald Trump.

To put all this another way, I am in the process of reinventing my online presence from top to bottom. There are still some finishing touches to put on the website, and then, once those are done, I will start to look really critically at how I use and how I want to use social media. I don’t, however, want to get ahead of myself, so I will stop there and share with you some happy publication news:

  • My translation and accompanying essay, “Attar’s ‘Tale of Marhuma:’ The Woman with a Manly Heart” appeared in the most recent issue of Modern Language Studies. (I’ve posted a copy to
  • Also, while it was originally published on Unlikely Stories in December of last year, and while some of the content is a little dated (since it was written before Trump was elected), I’d like to remind you about my essay, “The Lines That Antisemitism and Racism Draw: Reflections on White Jewish Intersectionality.” Writing it is what moved me to write the posts about antisemitism that I mentioned above, and it’s my attempt to add to a conversation about being white and being Jewish that all too often does not occur. (The white-text-on-black-background of the Unlikely Stories website is hard for some people to read, so I’ve posted a copy of this essay to as well.)

If you do get a chance to check out my new site, I hope you’ll let me know what you think. If you find the blog posts worthwhile, please share them with others and, as always, if you have a response, please leave a comment. I’m always interested to hear what you have to say.

  1. I chose Writer, by Acora Themes. I recommend them highly; their customer service is wonderful. []
This entry posted in Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 

2 Responses to The Pleasure and Pain of Starting Over

  1. 1
    Mooseking says:

    That’s a very nice theme, and professional presentation. Your about tab is currently your Why You’re a Feminist post… which may be a bit disconcerting for people who are wondering about where you teach, or who is this Richard guy? If that remains your “about” page, you might want similar links to your CV and/or publications.

  2. Thanks, Mooseking, I appreciate it. And, especially, thanks for reminding me about the About page, which is one of the places where the site still needs tweaking.