Hanukkah poems & Eight Knights of Hanukkah!

[Here is where to visit #PoetryFriday!]

At mid-week, a gift arrives at my inbox from a brilliant author and poet I met at a nourishing Highlights Foundation verse novel residential workshop. Because of the newsletter, The Whole Megillah, emailed from Barbara Krasner, I know of a sweet, fun, peace-building book.

It is The Eight Knights of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is just around the castle corner, with a Dec. 2020 first night on the Tenth. Since I know some of the beautiful work of poet Alieen Fisher, I’m sharing from her Hanukkah poem at Poetry Foundation, with appreciation for the holiday round up from poet Becca Klaver.

Light the Festive Candles



Light the first of eight tonight—

the farthest candle to the right.

Light the first and second, too,

when tomorrow’s day is through. ~~

c. AileenFisher,allrightsreserved, continued here.

::: Also, regarding Hanukkah!

When I held the cover of the book that creators Gailia Bernstein and Leslie Kimmelman sent into the universe, I smiled. This creative fantasy from Holiday House adds joy to an already festive, yet, spiritual time. And if your computer just read the title out loud to you or if someone else did, make sure you understand the spelling of Knights.

Best Big Bits: Medieval Knights? At Hanukkah. I never expected that. Representation. This is not your white-only, boys-only-allowed, Knights Story. Hanukkah Weapons? The weapons of choice do tug my heart.

And, the mitzvahs! 

And, the surprise ending.

Best Little Bits:

Map! Two pets! Noticing each Knight’s shield emblem. Finding a castle-full of details, Leslie Kimmelman’s deft words. And did I mention, Galia Bernstein’s ultra witty artwork spreads? My huge appreciations to Barbara Krasner for the tip about this book at The Whole Megillah, with Barbara’s fabulous duo interview of the creators, here.

Don’t you want to see if your Library can add EIGHT KNIGHTS to their world culture, Jewish studies, holidays & associated topic, shelves? If you curate a home Hanukkah collection, this is a keeper. Although I am of the Christian flavor of faith path, I’m interested in many many spiritual traditions. And if I did ever have a previous life, it’s likely I was Jewish 🙂

Autumn poetry news Through digital events miracles, I visited in the studios of both


JANICE R. HARRRINGTON in one blessed evening.

I sat rapt as two of my favorite contemporary poets shared conversation with those of us attending, via The New School/NYC. And, they read to us. Bliss. [photo from the Zoom of RITA DOVE and fabulous interpreter, Cynthia Norman]

I felt lucky to attend a children’s literature poetry workshop, with Poetry Friday’s Catherine at Reading to the Core. She limned it recently in a fun piece. After I complete asks & tasks inspired by The Craft and Heart of Poetry with exquisite poetry team Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard, I hope to follow in her footsteps with a post about an event that even in virtual, digital space, is an experience for poem readers and writers to savor. I know several of you feel fortunate to have written with them via the Highlights Foundation dreamy woods creek fields setting. I hope you find time to read Linda B.’s blog of this duo’s on-site workshop, different year, at her Teacher Dance.

One item more! “Surfing,” a 2019 poem arising from my wild toss into the sea, years back, recently received an Honorable Mention from poet Tiel Aisha Ansari of Oregon. I’m pleased to be learning about Ms. Ansari’s important works (see below) and her experienced pen for an adult readership. This was the first time I entered & yes, yes, I’m chuffed. I’m not publishing it here as I’m advised that posting in social media can make a piece be considered already pubbed. Any tips for workarounds?

Now giving much thanks in this Giving Thanks Time of Year, I’m pleased to share this, on Tiel Aisha Ansari:


5 responses to “Hanukkah poems & Eight Knights of Hanukkah!”

  1. Much to love like always in your posts, Jan. Congratulations for your poem publication. My family is not Jewish, but I had students who were & a favorite memory is a father coming in every beginning of Hanukkah to read Hersel and The Hanukkah Goblins to our class. I love hearing all about this new The Eight Knights of Hanukkah, will find it! Happy weekend to you and yours and thanks for all of this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations, Jan, on your Honorable Mention from poet Tiel Aisha Ansari of Oregon on your 2019 poem. Thank you for the newsy post. I was lucky to see your name in the audience at the Poetry Foundation webinar last night. It was inspirational, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, what a lovely post. It feels like sitting with you and visiting. Such good newsy bits…starting with a publication. Hooray, Jan! That’s wonderful. And, a tip from Barbara on what looks to be a wonderful new book….three cheers to a not-your-grandfather’s-Channukah story! I envy time at a poetry workshop. I think I need to get to one soon. This virtual work time has messed with my writing…working at my day job in my bedroom and then trying to write is just weird! It’s too many different worlds smashed together. I limp along, though. Thank you for the Fisher poem. I need to post that to my middle-grade kiddos soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this intriguing post Jan, so much here to savor. First, congrats on your Honorable Mention for “Surfing” I’m looking forward to reading it! I would have loved being at that Rita Dove talk, lucky you.The Hanukkah poem is spilling over with light, and “The Eight Knights of Hanukkah” looks and sounds marvelous. I think I saw your name flash at my Poetry Foundation reading tonight, many thanks for coming!

    Liked by 1 person

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