Texts to the Holy

My next collection of poetry, Texts to the Holy, is due from Ben Yehuda Press in 2018. Here’s some advance praise for the collection:


from  Merle Feld, author of A Spiritual Life and Finding Words:

These poems are remarkable, radiating a love of God that is full bodied, innocent, raw, pulsating, hot, drunk.  I can hardly fathom their faith but am grateful for the vistas they open.  I will sit with them, and invite you to do the same.


from Dale Favier, author of Opening the World:


These are simple poems, radiant with joy. There is nothing clever or snide about them, no giving-only-to-take-back: the speaker of these poems is in it for keeps.

When it comes to you, dearest one,
I am profligate with promises…

They are not — and do not pretend to be — artless: but they have a hard-won simplicity, poetic and spiritual. We are here to celebrate love, to celebrate wanting and being wanted, seeing and being seen. There are moments of tender humor, that might verge on blasphemy to those who do not take immanence seriously:

Suddenly though among strangers
I am not alone. You are with me.
Your emoji and your texts
—they comfort me.

But Barenblat takes immanence very seriously. The conflation of the divine and the beloved is not a device or a conceit, in these poems: it’s just the truth, as seen by a veteran, disciplined contemplative.

It is you who wipe
 tears from my face
    with tender hands

who remind me
 I deserve better
    than desolation

To read these poems is to take up the challenge of being this vulnerable, and this much in love.



from Reverend Heidi Haverkamp, author of Advent in Narnia:


Texts to the Holy is a collection of sultry, passionate love poems… to God! Rachel has marvelously blended the holy sensuality of Song of Songs with the compact verbal rhythms of social media. Quite in contrast to most devotional writing, her words croon and sizzle, delight and reverberate. You can both read them to your beloved one and pray them to the Holy One. We religious folks should break out of our comfort zones and allow Rachel’s book to open up our hearts to a passionate love for God in prayer.


About velveteenrabbi

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat holds an MFA from Bennington and rabbinic ordination from ALEPH. Her blog is at http://velveteenrabbi.blogs.com/blog/
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