Song: Alicia Ostriker’s Birthday

November 11, 1937Alicia Ostriker born, American Jewish feminist poet and scholar; professor of English at Rutgers University sine 1972; noted for her poetry collections: Once More Out of Darkness, which featured poems about pregnancy and childbirth; A Dream of Springtime; Waiting for the Light; and the feminist classic The Mother-Child Papers, inspired by the birth of her son during the Vietnam War, just weeks after the Kent State shootings. Her collection, The Imaginary Lover, won the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America. Her non-fiction work includes Writing Like a Woman, which explores the poetry of contemporary poets like Anne Sexton, May Swenson and Adrienne Rich; and The Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Vision and Revisions, which takes a look at the Torah, which was followed by For the Love of God.  In 2018, she was named as the New York State Poet.

tulip drawing

To read Alicia Ostriker’s poem “Song” click:


by Alicia Ostriker

Some claim the origin of song
was a war cry
some say it was a rhyme
telling the farmers when to plant and reap
don’t they know the first song was a lullaby
pulled from a mother’s sleep
said the old woman

A significant
factor generating my delight in being
alive this springtime
is the birdsong
that like a sweeping mesh has captured me
like diamond rain I can’t
hear it enough said the tulip

lifetime after lifetime
we surged up the hill
I and my dear brothers
thirsty for blood
our beautiful songs
said the dog

“Song” from The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog, © 2014 by Alicia Suskin Ostriker – University of Pittsburgh Press

‘Red Tulip Flower’ by Martin Child
‘Head of an Old Woman’ by John Singer Sargent (detail)
‘Dog’ by Eriksdotter

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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