Norman Finkelstein

Poetry & Poetics


This site is devoted to the poetry and criticism of Norman Finkelstein, including information and links to publications, reviews, readings, miscellaneous events and random jottings.

Now available!

With the great intimacy and insight of a poet-scholar, Norman Finkelstein traces a late modernist genealogy of Jewish American poets as “secular rabbis” who write out of the tradition: both in the sense of being outside it and, poignantly, emerging out of it as they leave it behind. Nuanced and moving, his close readings are anchored in the poets’ own writings about poetry, taking the poets seriously as scholars of verbal art. The book is a celebration of diasporic poetics, a poetry of “wandering meaning” even when it resides, as in the case of the wonderful American-Israeli poet Rachel Tzvia Back, “fully in the paradox of being ever a foreigner at home.”--Chana Kronfeld

In Dark Rabbi, Norman Finkelstein provides an informative account of some contemporary Jewish poetry from the radical midrashic and antinomian to lyrics that court religiosity in the face of diaspora. For these poets, whose quarrel is as much with one another as with God, the secular is never secular just as the holy is invented with each poem. --Charles Bernstein


New poem online:


Now available from Dos Madres Press: From the Files of the Immanent Foundation.


From the Files of the Immanent Foundation is a beautiful work of hesitant wonder, coaxing stark narration, precept, adage and a strange, winsome yet doleful music out of bureaucratic and documentarian argot and protocol. Its long run of quirks and particulars makes it also a work of rash but strict invention, both an inquiry into invention and its anthem or hymn, its exemplum. Immanence’s openly secret accord with emanation seems to be at issue or at least at work. I read it wishing it would never end. —Nathaniel Mackey