The Epigenetics of Joy: Writing Judaism Beyond Trauma

Room 2208, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level
Thursday, February 8, 2024
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Jewish literary events often focus on the Holocaust, generational trauma, or antisemitism—vital topics of discussion. Yet how much is lost if we reduce Jewish writing to writing from trauma. What about the joy, wisdom, traditions, and ubiquitous humor that can be found in Judaism and Jewish culture? With a combination of readings and conversation, our panelists, who embody a range of engagement and representation, will speak to the many visions possible when writing through a Jewish lens.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Epigenetics_of_Joy.AWP_2024_.outline_.pdf



Jessica Jacobs is the author of four books, including unalone, poems in conversation with the Book of Genesis (Four Way Books, March 2024). She is the founder and executive director of Yetzirah: A Hearth for Jewish Poetry, a nonprofit literary organization that supports Jewish poets & Jewish poetry.

Erika Meitner is the author of six books of poems, including Useful Junk (BOA Editions in 2022), and Holy Moly Carry Me, which won the 2018 National Jewish Book award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. She is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Yehoshua November is the author of two books of poetry, God's Optimism (an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist) and Two Worlds Exist (a National Jewish Book Award and Paterson Poetry Prize finalist). His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Sun, VQR, and on NPR and Poetry Unbound.

Chanda Feldman is the author of Approaching the Fields: poems. She is a Cave Canem Fellow, and has received an NEA Fellowship for Poetry and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She holds an MFA from Cornell University. Chanda teaches creative writing at Oberlin College.

Sean Singer


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center