What I Will Tell My Jewish Kids

And Other Poems on Palestine

when i saw
an old woman
on all fours
in the ruins
of her home
looking under
floor tiles
for medicine
i did think
what would i say
if it were my grandmother

So begins What I Will Tell My Jewish Kids, a collection of poems on Palestine from Kevin Coval, four-time HBO Def Poet and ALA "Book-of-the-Year" finalist.

What I Will Tell My Jewish Kids is about the Jewish community, conflicts within it, and family reflections; it's about speaking truth to power, at the dinner table and in the world at large; it's about the undeniable power of history and facts, the inspiration of resistance, and the promise of justice and reconciliation. Most of all, What I Will Tell My Jewish Kids is a dissident artistic vision, a lovesong to both all of those who are Jewish, who refuse to equate Judaism and Zionism, who believe their people "have a long story. more than what is seen now"; and to those who resist against all odds, apartheid walls, checkpoints, and borders, their oppression in Palestine.

For select excerpts, "The Wall" and "What I Will Tell My Jewish Kids" visit http://kcovaleverydaypeople.blogspot.com/

What I Will Tell My Jewish Kids also includes a special preview of L-vis Lives: Racemusic Poems, Coval's forthcoming collection on race and culture, art and ownership in America today, releasing September 2011 from Haymarket Books.

About the author

KEVIN COVAL is the author of numerous poetry collections and chapbooks, including the American Library Association Book-of-the-Year finalist Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica and most recently, L-vis Lives! Racemusic Poems, described as a “stunning, and very personal, piece of literary work that should be required reading in every high school in America” by Impose magazine.

In his early twenties, Coval founded “Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival,” now one of the largest youth gatherings on the planet, recently the subject of an award-winning documentary of the same name. Coval currently serves as Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, the non-profit home of Louder Than a Bomb, and numerous other youth writing and hip hop programs. He is a native of Chicago and teaches at the School of the Art Institute and is a frequent contributor to WBEZ: Chicago Public Radio. His next work is Schtick: Jewish Assimilation and Its Discontents, forthcoming from Haymarket Books in April 2013. Coval can be reached at kc@kevincoval.com. New poems and event notices can be found at www.newschoolpoetics.com and www.facebook.com/kevincoval.

Reviews

"Kevin Coval is a new, glowing voice in the world of literature."
—Studs Terkel

"A prophet…a tour-de-force…he can soothe and scathe, hurt and heal, in the course of a single poem."
Providence Journal

"Coval echoes Ginsberg in his spiritual revolt and longing for multicultural transcendance. Funny and empathic…his well-stocked poems contain earth and spirit, body and soul."
Booklist

"Coval’s greatest strength is his rhythmic, beautiful prose and his willingness to speak truth to power, no matter what the personal cost."
—URB

"A concious Jewish phenomenon…[Coval’s] work speaks to the Jewish relationship to the American color line."
—Jew School

Resources