Why I Write Poetry: Nurit Israeli

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Last week, I posted about “Why I Write Poetry” and encouraged others to share their thoughts, stories, and experiences for future guest posts. I've already received several, and I hope they keep coming in. Thank you!

Today's "Why I Write Poetry" post comes from Nurit Israeli.

Nurit Israeli holds a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University, where she was associate professor of psychology. During her long career, Nurit enjoyed directing a family therapy department; directing, teaching, and supervising at doctoral and postdoctoral psychology training programs, and membership in the committee of accreditation of postdoctoral training programs in family psychology of the APA. Nurit has published poems in international poetry anthologies, New York City Haiku (a Rizzoli book publication), Nassau County Poet Laureate Review, the New York Times, Writer’s Digest, and other online and print magazines. Several of her poems won awards in writing challenge competitions.

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Why I Write Poetry: Nurit Israeli

 Nurit Israeli

Nurit Israeli

I perceive the world through a poetic lens. Writing poetry enables me to put words together in ways that most accurately reflect who I am, expand me, let me live deeper.

I am a survivor. I went into survival mode before my beginning, when I was an almost miscarriage, and I became my parents' only surviving offspring. I was born in the midst of World War II, in the shadow of the Holocaust, at a time when most members of my extended family lost their lives in concentration camps. I started writing poems for my parents at a very young age – attempting to help them transcend horrendous losses and hold on to hope.

Ever since, I kept on weaving my own story through obstacle courses: wars, bouts of cancer, relocations, and more – surviving well enough to embrace and celebrate with abandon life's amazing offerings. The process of translating personal traumas into poetic forms has been healing. It has helped me explore, reflect, bear witness, discover layers of meaning, move beyond, feel the power of my own voice.

I am a romantic at heart: a dreamer, a lover of nature, a passionate believer in the power of love (topic of my doctoral dissertation and many of my poems), attuned to the subtleties of human experience, grateful for moments of spiritual transcendence. Poetry has become my vehicle for reflecting on the interplay between grieving and gratitude, pain and pleasure, fear and the power to overcome, darkness and light. Poetry lets me integrate the seemingly contradictory dimensions of experience, present them as closely intertwined, express time and again different versions of my life's mantra: In Spite of Everything – YES!

I also write poetry to communicate. At times, my poems are interpersonal bridges – attempts to reach out to fellow seekers on the path, touch them, take them somewhere that is both new and familiar, affirm how unique yet similar we all are...

And sometimes I am not sure why I write poems. Some poems just sneak out of me, insist on writing themselves their own way, escape the pen that tries to control them, or hold them responsible, or make them relevant. Truly? I let the rebels have it their way, and I take delight in giving birth to these adventurous slivers of myself...

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If you’d like to share why you write poetry, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwmedia.com with a 300-500 word personal essay that shares why you write poetry. It can be serious, happy, sad, silly–whatever poetry means for you. And be sure to include your preferred bio (50-100 words) and head shot. If I like what you send, I’ll include it as a future guest post on the blog.

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