Deborah Schwartz (b. 1963, May 26) raised in New Haven, CT to a first generation Orthodox Jewish community where her father and the other men who came to daven after work in the backroom of the shul and drink schnaps let them join her until the words of their prayers and the words of their days and the quiet of their dreams made her way into her skin and swirled around in her blood stream and made her a Jew. She constructed her Jewishness with help from Rabbi Hefterman from Vilna and her father who unequivocally prayed and her mother who told everyone she met that God was a concept (before John Lennon sang those same words) that she could live with or without, but Yiddishkeit and potato latkhas and dancing circles with her in the middle– oy, l’chaim, that’s what it’s all about.
So Deborah Schwartz (b. 1963, May 26) raised in New Haven, Ct to a first generation Orthodox Jewish community traveled secretly in and out of the male and female domains like an anthropologist without a document. The document was her body where she pretended that she was only a girl. When she went to the New Haven public schools she learned that not everyone was a Jew, and she was relieved and a little surprised. Later, much, she studied sociology, and politics and history but just didn’t have the heart to commit everything to theory. And besides her thoroughly obnoxious and loving Uncle Abe, one of many of her beloved father’s siblings was a Communist and a Poet, and she liked those things most of all. As he read her his poetry and some other commrades’ and as he read her his riot acts, including of course Marx’s Capital in English which hadn’t surprised her since her mother had read her some of it in Yiddish as bedtime reading, it agreed with her–both his poetry and the distribution of wealth. Deborah Schwartz (b. 1964, May 26) went to her room and locked the door and wrote her own (poetry and riot acts.)
Now she teaches composition and poetry in the English Department at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, MA. Here she learns so much from her students. Now she lives, a day to day life in Somerville, MA with her wife and partner, the cuttie-pie Nancy Sullivan.
A Girl Could Disappear Like This (Kattywompus Press, 2019) is her most recent publication. The collection has won finalists with Carolina Wren Press, Elixir Press, and Inlandia Press. It is now being highlighted at Brilliant Light Publishing as one of the recommended poetry books of 2019. Thank you Brilliant Light. Thank you Rabbi Hefterman from Vilna. Thank you Sully. Thanks for reading (or skimming). And now go home and lock the door and write some of your own poetry.