Presented by Irena Klepfisz

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Named a finalist for the 2022 National Jewish Book Award, Irena Klepfisz’s Her Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems 1971-2021 is the first complete collection of Klepfisz’s work covering the past five decades. It includes her innovative bilingual Yiddish/English poems as well as poems about relatives murdered during the war, immigration, office work, a lost Yiddish writer, a Palestinian boy in Gaza, and various people in her life. In her introduction to Klepfisz’s A Few Words in the Mother Tongue, Adrienne Rich wrote: “[Klepfisz’s] sense of phrase, of line, of the shift of tone, is almost flawless.”

Irena Klepfisz is a trailblazing lesbian poet, child Holocaust survivor, and political activist whose work is deeply informed by socialist values. She taught Jewish women’s studies at Barnard College for twenty-two years and taught writing and literature at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for ten years.

Co-sponsored by the Workers Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California.
Co-presented by Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, the Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco, KlezCalifornia, and the Yiddish Theatre Ensemble.

Please note that Yiddish Theatre Ensemble will be producing Between Worlds, a new play based on the life and poetry of Irena Klepfisz on August 16-20, 2023 at Live Oak Theatre, Berkeley.

Between Worlds is conceived and written by actress Naomi Newman in collaboration with dramaturg Zack Rogow. YTE co-artistic director Bruce Bierman will direct this original theatre piece with an ensemble of actors and renowned musicians featuring percussionist Barbara Borden and cellist/bassist Susanne DiVincenzo. Click here for details or contact producer Laura Sheppard at