For Immediate Release Contact: Karen Gruber Colp
Florida Resident Publishes First Poetry Collection
Hollywood, FL: While most orthodox Jewish women are busy cooking for the Sabbath on Friday afternoon, Haya Pomrenze, a resident of Hollywood, Florida for fifteen years and author of Hook, a collection of poetry, is happily at the movies, feeling guilty for not making homemade kasha varnishkes like her mother. This small insight into the psyche of Haya is one of many poignant experiences she shares that highlights the complexity of the Jewish modern orthodox female experience.
Ms. Pomrenze’s book of thirty something poems is not exactly what you would expect from the daughter of an OSS officer who grew up in Washington, D.C. The title of the book comes from the title of one of Haya’s poems, Hook, because it literally describes a child hooking her mother’s bra. However, this title, like most of Haya’s poetry, reflects a deeper meaning, with an enormous amount of symbolism and a heaping dose of comic satire. The hook is not only a piece of metal on an undergarment but also reflects the intricacies of the mother -daughter relationship
The push-me pull-you of the mother-daughter relationship is not the only theme that appears repeatedly in this eclectic and entertaining collection of poetry. Other common threads are finding balance between sanity and insanity as well as between the secular
and Jewish worlds. Though there is a sprinkling of Yiddish words like knipl, kugel and baleboste, the poems speak to all women and there is a glossary at the end to ensure universal comprehension.
The poems are cleverly laced with words that have a multitude of meanings. One of the last poems, Plots are for Dead People, deals with the problem of where to be buried. But it
is also a play on the literary plot, with each of the stanzas highlighting the different components of a short story. The bra hook in the first poem is also the hook on a bridal gown, a piece of kosher brisket hooked in one’s teeth and the hooking of one’s feet into the stirrups of a carousel horse. The last selection in the book, Errata, lists pretend disclaimers for the different poems, mimicking the disclaimer section of the New York Times, “with the ultimate goal of making the reader laugh and cry at the same time,” Haya explained.
“Haya Pomrenze speaks from the depths. She has transformed the friction between religion, culture and plain old family pathology into the music of life,” explained Ruchama King, author of the novel, Seven Blessings and a 2007 grant recipient from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.
It was a long circuitous road from Barnard College, where Haya studied English in the eighties, to her successful entry into the poetry world. Though she had a strong propensity for writing even then, she was discouraged from becoming a writer, as it was not considered an option for a religious Jewish woman. Instead, she attended New York University where she studied occupational therapy. Twenty-two years later, she is still a practicing OT, with a specialty in mental health, an interest of which is reflected in her poetry. It was not until she took a creativity course at the Actor’s Institute in Manhattan 16 years ago that rediscovered her passion for writing.
Hook will be published by Rock Press and is due for release in June. Poetry fans will have the opportunity to meet Haya at book signings across the country. For more information, visit www.hayapomrenze.com
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By Haya Pomrenze
Rock Press, Inc.
Contact: Karen Gruber Colp @ 954.257.4379