KlezKanada Poetry Retreat: August 18-24, 2014

Three Millennia of Poetic Subversion


Artwork by Adeena Karasick and Blaine Speigel

Explore the hidden secrets of the letters
Tap into the power of ancestral culture
Hone your interlingual dexterity
Prepare to be amazed

For the third successful year, internationally acclaimed poets and performers, Jake Marmer and Adeena Karasick will be returning to host 4 days of lectures, discussions, master classes on writing and performance.The theme of the KlezKanada Festival this year is the “Yene Velt” – the dark side of the Ashkenazi mythic lore – dybbuks, ghosts, hallucinations, various spirits and undead elements. The Poetry Retreat will echo this theme presenting our own set of entrances into and encounters with the “other side”. If Kabbalists claimed that the greatest light is concealed in the deepest darkness, it is our assertion that poetry, too, finds its beginnings and motion in just such paradoxes and reversals.

The KlezKanada Poetry Retreat, 2013

The KlezKanada Poetry Retreat, 2013

Throughout the week, we will discuss the role of ghosts, golems, dybbuks and specters in and through writing: with topics ranging from the Babylonian to Beat. Talmud, Sefer Yetzirah, Humour Noir; Between Revelation and Nihilism; From the Anti-Semitic to the Semiotic; and the Poetics of Hauntology.

Participants will have the opportunity to engage in both solo and multi-vocal performance and work with musicians, dancers, experimenting across all disciplines. Last year, the works of our students were published in the Forward – a tradition we certainly hope to continue, expanding to features in other publications as well.


Imagine, by Bob Smolkin

Imagine, by Bob Smolkin

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  • Lines on a Map of Jewish Poetry

    by eBenBrandeis

    Lines map a consciousness continent
    and shorelines of oceans of memory

    Lines bent and hammered to chain link
    writers ink helix twine melody

    Worry lines lifted from foreheads
    of a line of illustrious ancestors

    Lines made from letters and ladders
    document sightline interpreters

    Lines made of train lines – bread lines – bloodlines -
    fine lines – crossed lines – bottom lines –

    Lines in the sand of our templeless land –
    green line – red lines – borderlines

    My punch line’s a knot in a rhymed thread of thought
    lines filled with argument, sentiment,

    ancestry, progeny, prophecy, poetry,
    lines of a mapmaking instrument.
  • At KlezKanada last year…

    ...I rediscovered bits of myself to which I had not been attending. The festival reminded me of how much I need joy and of how I am most joyful when creating and sharing artistic expression, engaging in community, and surrounding myself with others’ humor and intellect and music and ideas. In particular, it was such a gift to have a week of space to pursue the study and creation of Jewish poetry (and to discuss what exactly Jewish poetry is) with excellent and supportive teachers and peers.
    Molly Moses