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Greenberg Center establishes major Jewish poetry prize

Muriel Hoff

Muriel Hoff

WEST HARTFORD – Poetry is thought to have been one of the first forms of writing in the Bible. The great Jewish poets throughout the ages have created the book of Psalms and much of the liturgy. In addition, in the Middle Ages, the writings of the great Hebrew, Yiddish, and Ladino poets fueled the imaginations of generations of Jewish men, women and children. In our own time, Israeli and American Jewish poets have created a continuation of the poetry art form in a chain that stretches back some 4,000 years.
Now, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies of the University of Hartford has announced the establishment of the Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry Award for 2013. The award will be presented annually to an American poet whose published poetry is considered to have significance for the American Jew.
The award was established by the family of Muriel Hoff, an American Jewish poet living in North Carolina. The author of two books of poems, Messages Via Muriel and The Voice in the Middle of the Night, Hoff is a past president of the Greensboro Writers Club, a member of the Greensboro Group and the Writers’ Group of the Triad and a member of the North Carolina Poetry Society.  A lifetime member of Hadassah, she is a participant in the Women’s Cabinet of the Greensboro Jewish Federation.
“Just as the Greenberg Center’s Edward Lewis Wallant American Jewish fiction Award is presented annually – this year on April 17 – to an American writer whose published work of fiction is considered to have significance for the American Jew, so too we hope that this American Jewish poetry award will spark young people to present their poetry for the enjoyment and celebration of this ancient Jewish art form,” said Greenberg Center director Dr. Richard Freund in announcing the award.
The award will be presented to the winner at a dinner to be held on April 29 at the University of Hartford.
A panel of three faculty members from the University of Hartford will select the winning poem. The theme for the American Jewish poetry award this year is “Jewish Life in America.” Submissions are welcome from young Jewish adults, ages 18-30. Only one submission is permitted per poet. The deadline for submissions is March 22.

For more information on the Hoff Poetry Award and for a complete submission check list, call (860) 768-4964 or email

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