Rebecca N. Herz
Rebecca Herz is the author of Homecoming. Her individual poems can be found in Sinister Wisdom Journal, The Last Leaves, The Madrigal, Prolific Pulse, Cobra Milk, Fine Lines, and on Medium.Rebecca is a graduate student of social work at Rutgers University and lives in New Jersey with her wife and cats. You can find Rebecca on LinkTree
and other poems
Homecoming is one poet's encounter with the G-d of her ancestors, with herself, and her teachers. She wanders through time and space, from 1930s Eastern Europe to 2019 Jerusalem, the foot of BCE Mt. Sinai, to 2016 Paris. The journey through these poems is non-linear, ever moving toward the future while reaching into the past. In these lines, the self becomes a permeable membrane for experience, a vessel for the voices of the ancestors to inhabit. At all stages of the journey there are teachers, both in traditional and nontraditional form. There is a poet in a concentration camp who keeps her lover's hair in a hidden hairbrush, risking her life for a reminder of her humanity. In another poem, the Jewish people wait for Moses at the foot of Mt. Sinai, and their reasoning for constructing the golden calf is explained in relatable terms. Through and through, the poems of Homecoming are deeply human, containing human foibles, flaws, longings, and that all encompassing languish of a young heart becoming. This work explores the multivariate and multidimensional worlds of the Jewish people. It does this while challenging the traditional and mundane, the antiquated and oppressive. It collapses the binary of religious and secular, asking the reader to engage in the work of encountering the beautiful human spirit within the day to day. Both in form and content, these poems traverse the challenging terrain of antiquity, while maintaining a firm grasp on the intense, vivid present. Queerness and feminism form the lens through which the poet views her faith, and seeks to revitalize it. It is the imperfect attempt to reconcile a tradition of patriarchy with a desire to connect with the feminine aspects of G-d. To the poet, G-d is in the work of the collective forming a new language for the Divine. Homecoming seeks the inclusion of perspectives that challenge the authority of ancient texts, and that humble themselves to the expansive and resilient traditions that have lasted through centuries of unimaginable suffering. These poems attempt to feel the suffering of a people, all while offering the paradox of love, joy, peace, and freedom. It reiterates a mother tongue composed of messages of acceptance, non-judgement, and nurturing. Nature becomes the focal point in poems about G-d, and G-d the absent focal point in poems that question the very reliability of faith itself.