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Poetry Friday: Festival Of Lights Revisited

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This week is Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. This ancient Jewish celebration honors the notion of miracles with longstanding traditions like lighting the menorah, eating oil-based foods and opening small gifts each night. In this week's Poetry Friday segment, we hear about a more modern celebration of Hanukkah in a poem by Yael Flusberg. It's read by Bjorn Krondorfer, director of the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University. The institute focuses on global engagement through Holocaust awareness. 

Bjorn Krondorfer:

I’m going to read a poem that is called ‘Festival of Lights Revisited’. It was written by a poet and a friend of mine who lives in Washington, D.C. Her name is Yael Flusberg, and she is the child of a Holocaust survivor. I think the poem is really interesting; it’s a Hanukkah poem, but non-traditional. I would say ‘unusual’ but really intriguing poem.

Festival of Lights Revisited, by Yael Flusberg

That Hannukah, I made latkes, updating the toppings

for the New Jew – tomatoes an dcilantro for the Brushetta

crew, yogurt-cucumber-garlic-mint for the Mediterranean

chic, sour cream and applesauce for the traditionals.

My old school cat cried for cream.

My arms – grating pounds of potatoes –

ached for a food processor.

Credit AZ Humanities
Bjorn Krondorfer, director of the Martin-Springer Institute at NAU, focusing on global engagement through Holocaust awareness

I danced until it was time to drive with my lover

to New England for the Other December Holiday.

I prepared for the worst, his mother very House

& Gardens. Boxes lived on metal basement shelves

marked Halloween!! July 4th!! filled with seasonal ceramics.

Opening gifts, one by excruciating

one ripe with ooohs and ahhhs followed by mid-day

mass with an aging Episcopalian priest who may not

make another year. And thankfully, wine promptly at 5.

This year, Hanukkah comes earlier in the season.

The lover is gone; the cat, put to sleep.

I find myself in New Mexico, where transplants

repeat trivia about the firmament within reach.

What does a Festival of Lights mean

with blue skies 300 days a year?

The light here is constant, unforgiving.

My horoscope advises: notice connections to your childhood

home. Women and men the age my parents were

when they died are everywhere.

One has my mother’s hands. She weaves insights

like soft cloth, holding it to my shoulders when I chill.

Poetry Friday is produced by KNAU's Gillian Ferris. If you have an idea for a segment, drop her an email at

Gillian Ferris was the News Director and Managing Editor for KNAU.