The Judge

Myra Sklarew

The judge for the 2006 poetry competition at Lilith was Myra Sklarew. She is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently Lithuania: New & Selected Poems, The Witness Trees, and Eating the White Earth (translated into Hebrew by Moshe Dor) and published in Israel; a collection of short fictions. Like a Field Riddled by Ants; a collection of essays. Over the Rooftops of Time. Her work has been recorded for the Library of Congress’s Contemporary Poets’ Archives and has received the National Jewish Book Council Award in Poetry, the Di Castagnola Award, Poetry Society of America (shared with Erica Jong), PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards, Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award from the Judah Magnes Museum. She is the former president of the artist’s community Yaddo, and is professor of literature at American University. She is currently at work on a nonfiction study. Holocaust and the Construction of Memory, an exploration of Holocaust testimony through the neuroscience of memory.

She says of this year’s contestants:

Though I have read a good deal of poetry over the years for contests and through teaching, I was particularly struck by the kinds of people who have submitted to Lilith: daughters of Holocaust survivors, women (and one man, if I recall correctly) from other countries and the United States who are immensely accomplished, those who have lived abroad and worked in other languages. Even if the poems were not chosen for this contest, they were always important in terms of the kinds of experiences and knowledge that they explored and for their craft and language and depth.

I had the feeling that if you put these people around a table, they would have a great deal to contribute (as they already have) and a great deal to share with one another So I thank you for the opportunity to he in the midst of such kindred spirits.