THE BOOK OF LIFE - Birthright (Books in the Time of Coronavirus)
11:33PM Mar 29, 2020
[Music, Intro] This is The Book of Life, a show about Jewish kidlit, mostly. I'm Heidi Rabinowitz. Welcome to our special series, Books in the Time of Coronavirus. We'll hear from authors who had to cancel their spring 2020 promotional events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today we'll hear from author Erika Dreifus about her poetry collection Birthright.
Hi there everybody. This is Erika Dreifus, and I'm speaking to you from my home in New York City. I am the author most recently of a poetry collection that is titled Birthright. Birthright was published by Kelsay Books in November 2019. I wasn't able to promote it as energetically as I'd have liked to last fall due to some unexpected obligations that arose but I had built up a number of events scheduled for this March and April, April being National Poetry Month, typically a good time for us poets to share our work. I completed three events in early March before everything else was canceled or postponed. So I'm especially grateful to Heidi for making this opportunity possible. Let me begin by telling you a little bit about Birthright. It is, as I've mentioned, a book of poetry. Readers tend to be adults. And so far, almost everyone seems to emphasize how accessible the book is. So if you happen to be someone who is sometimes intimidated or put off by the poetry label, please don't be. As the title suggests, Birthright, it's a book largely about inheritance. The poems within it embodies multiple legacies: genetic, historical, literary, religious. Birthright has received a lot of really nice praise so far. In the words of one reader it is, quote, a welcome addition to the modern American poetry canon, narrative, Jewish, feminist or otherwise. Like many collections, whether they're collections of poems, essays, or short stories, Birthright evolved over time. I didn't set out to write it as a single book, I began writing some of the poems that appear in it way back in 2007. A number of experiences over the years that followed, including a practice of Jewish text study, helped inspire specific poems that now appear in the book's pages. At face to face events, I typically read from a physical copy of the book, and I hold it up for people to admire the cover, but you podcast listeners can admire the cover, and even buy copies over on my website, ErikaDreifus.com that's E R I K A D R E I F U S dot com. The website also includes purchase links that connect to my publisher's website, as well as to the new platform called Bookshop, and an older one called Indiebound, both of which support independent bookstores, something that's even more important than usual right now. And it's nice to be able to tell you that with every book purchase, you will be fulfilling some Tikkun Olam, just as this podcast so often reminds us to do. I'm donating portions of my proceeds from sales of Birthright to Sefaria, a nonprofit organization, to support Sefaria's free ever increasing library of Jewish texts. There's more information about this on my website too, but you can also visit Sefaria directly at sefaria.org. That's S E F A R I A dot org. I want to thank Heidi for having me on the show. I'm a longtime listener and fan. It's going to be exciting, if a little nerve wracking, to hear myself in a broadcast. And I want to wish everyone who may be listening to this health and happiness, especially now. If you want to say hello, please contact me via the afore-mentioned website, or find me on Twitter @ErikaDreifus. L'hitraot. Take care. Bye.
[Music, Outro] If you write or illustrate Jewish books, and your new book's spring 2020 promotional events have been canceled due to the pandemic, I invite you to take part in The Book of Life's special series Books in the Time of Coronavirus. Visit tinyurl.com/booksCOVID for instructions or get in touch with me at 561-206-2473 or BookofLifepodcast@gmail.com.
Listeners, you know the drill: check out BookofLifepodcast.com for links to every way to reach me, every way to support the show, every way to get more information, and to hear every Book of Life episode since 2005, since you've probably got extra time on your hands right now. Thanks as always to theFreilachmakers Klezmer String Band for our background music. Please stay healthy. And everybody please wash your hands.