Poetry and Prayer 

Marge Piercy joins Temple Emanu-el for four unique events.

When Marge Piercy was a little girl growing up in Detroit, her grandmother entranced her with old Jewish tales.

"My grandmother Hannah, who lived with us part of every year and shared my bed in our tiny house, was a storyteller in the shtetl mold," Piercy wrote in the New York Times. "She told me tales of the golem, Lilith, dybbuks, flying rabbis -- My mother told those stories too, but quite differently."

A novelist and poet who will be participating in four programs in Tucson this weekend, Piercy credits her Jewish female forebears with encouraging her literary gifts with the example of their stories. As a novelist, she wrote, "I always want to hear how the stories come out, what happens next."

But her mother and grandmother also gave her a religious identity. Piercy's father was a nonpracticing Protestant, but her mother and grandmother, herself the daughter of a Lithuanian rabbi, raised her as a Jew.

Yet it was not until the last 15 years or so that Piercy has gone deeply into her Jewish self. At the age of 50, she was Bat-Mitzvahed and began to delve into the Jewish renewal movement, founding Am ha-Yam, the havurah of Outer Cape Cod, where she now lives, and teaching at a Jewish retreat center. In 1999, she published The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme, with Knopf, liturgical poems that are now used in rituals in homes and in some Reconstructionist and Reform congregations.

This weekend Piercy collaborates with Tucson's Temple Emanu-El in an unusual four-part examination of Judaism, spirituality and literature. All activities are free and open to the public and non-Jews are welcome.

The events begin at noon, Friday, March 23, at the UA Hillel Foundation, with a brown-bag discussion. In the evening, at the Temple, 225 N. Country Club Road, Piercy will be "part of the service," said Temple spokeswoman Vicki Spritz, "reading some of her poetry" and discussing the art of blessing Shabbat. The service begins at 8 p.m.

At noon Saturday at the Temple, at an informal roundtable discussion with Rabbi Samuel Cohon, Piercy will discuss "How poetry becomes prayer," Spritz said. The final event is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Temple, when Piercy will lecture on the topic "Am I a Jewish Writer?"

For more information call 327-4501.

More by Margaret Regan

  • Beguiling Narratives

    Artifact dances a Civil War story and an eerie Poe tale in dance/music concert
    • Sep 13, 2018
  • Good as Gold

    Scottish band The Tannahill Weavers pipe into town as part of 50th anniversary tour
    • Sep 6, 2018
  • Step by Step

    Local troupes and touring companies bring dance to life this fall
    • Aug 30, 2018
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Role Play

    Live Theatre Workshop's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery has three actors playing about 40 characters.
    • Oct 19, 2017
  • Magical Musical

    ATC’s reimagined ‘Man of La Mancha’ is a spectacular triumph
    • Dec 14, 2017

The Range

Caddy Needs a Home

Giant Paper Flower Making Workshop at Craft Revolt

More »

Latest in Review

  • Chemistry Experiment

    Live Theatre Workshop tests whether love is just a side effect
    • Aug 2, 2018
  • Cabaret of Sunshine

    Invisible Theatre brings back its Sizzling Summer Sounds series
    • Jul 12, 2018
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • City of Refuge

    A new play revisits the 1980s Sanctuary Movement in Tucson
    • Aug 30, 2018
  • Setting the Stage

    The curtain rises on a new season of theater productions
    • Aug 30, 2018
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2018 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation