From My Bookshelf: THERE’S JEWS IN TEXAS? Poems by Debra L. Winegarten

So here’s a tribute to the power of social media and technology.

In addition to participating in the monthly Jewish Book Carnival, I’m a member of the Carnival’s group on Goodreads. The Carnival isn’t intended for authors to promote their own books–the idea is to provide a forum for readers to share news, reviews, and/or interviews featuring (other) authors and books of Jewish interest.

But last week, our moderator created a new thread in the Goodreads group where authors can promote their own books. And when I scanned that thread, I noticed Debra L. Winegarten’s post about her poetry chapbook, There’s Jews in Texas?

There’s Jews in Texas? won Poetica Magazine’s 2011 Chapbook Contest. It comprises 13 poems, the first several of which are situated in childhood and evidently reflect aspects of Winegarten’s upbringing in Texas in the 1960s (see a sample poem on the author’s website). Winegarten’s mother is a lively voice in these early poems. Even after Ruthe Winegarten’s passing (midway through the collection, “The Three R’s” discloses that she died the same week as Ronald Reagan and Ray Charles), she remains present as the book moves forward in time. (And move forward it does: “The Price of a World,” is a response to the March 2011 massacre of the Fogel family.)

In her Goodreads post, the author helpfully noted that the book is available to Amazon Prime members as part of the Kindle Lending Library; that is how I obtained and read it (another thumbs-up for technology). The poems in There’s Jews in Texas? are both accessible and provocative, and I’m glad to have discovered and read them.