Biography and History

Alicia Suskin Ostriker was born on November 11, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, to David and Beatrice Suskin. The Suskins moved to Manhattan when Alicia was six years old so that she could attend the Hunter College Elementary School for gifted children. During her high school years at Fieldston School, Alicia discovered poets on her own: Whitman, Keats, Donne, Auden, and others. "Each of them confirmed, in one way or another, the connection of the soul to the body," she later wrote.

Ostriker entered Brandeis College on full scholarship in the fall of 1955. While there she met and fell in love with a Harvard physics major named Jeremiah P. Ostriker. "Finally there was someone with whom I could speak without caution," she wrote of him. They were married in December of 1958. Ostriker earned her B.A. from Brandeis in 1959, and an M.A. (1961) and a Ph.D. (1964) from the University of Wisconsin. Her first child, Rebecca, was born in 1963. A second daughter, Eve, was born in 1965, and her son, Gabe, was born in 1970. Both a feminist literary critic and a poet, Ostriker published Vision and Verse in William Blake, her first book and an expansion of her dissertation, in 1965. Her first collection of verse, Songs, appeared in 1969.

In 1973, Ostriker co-founded the poetry cooperative US1 with Rob Tulloss. The group continues to meet weekly in the Princeton area, and its literary magazine U.S. 1 Worksheets, has been published continuously for the past 29 years.

Ostriker came to prominence as both a poet and a critic in 1986, when she published her prize-winning volume The Imaginary Lover, a collection of poems, and Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women's Poetry in America, in which she makes a controversial argument concerning the women's poetry movement in the postwar and post-1960s America. Her 1994 midrashic volume, The Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Visions and Revisions, re-imagines biblical stories from "the Beginning" to Job and beyond from a contemporary Jewish woman's perspective. Green Age (1989) includes a seven-poem meditation on the many roles of women in Jewish history and culture. The Crack in Everything, a collection of poems that explores interests ranging from politics to Ostriker's battle with cancer, was published to acclaim in 1996. . The Volcano Sequence (2002) continues Ostriker's encounter with Jewish tradition, as does her volume of prose essays For the Love of God: the Bible as an Open Book (2007).

Ostriker's honors include the William Carlos Williams Prize (1986), the Paterson Poetry Prize (1996), the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award (1996), the Anna David Rosenberg Poetry Award (1994), the Larry Levis Prize, two Pushcart Prizes (1979 and 2000), and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation (1984-85), the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (1976-77). She has twice been a National Book Award finalist. Alicia Ostriker is Professor emerita of Rutgers University and teaches in the Drew University Low-Residency Poetry MFA Program.

poet; letters & interview with AO

Iraqi feminist scholar

Northwestern grad student - corresp. Following my talk which was attacked by Judaic studies profs.

Tel Aviv poet, translator, head of Israeli Assn. of Writers in English

scholar-critic contemporary poetry

AO feature

poet

poet

Re: Religion & Arts Conference

Re: Poetica Broadcast

poet, organized AWP "Trubute to AO" 2007

co-ed., Jewish American Poetry

English Professor, Hebew University

published Stealing the Language

poet, poetry editor for Women's Review of Books

former student, Italian poet & translator

poet

Israeli Bible Scholar

Re: Lecture series published as Feminist Revision in the Bible

novelist

Mina Loy biographer

poet, H.D. scholar

Brandeis professor

poet

poet

Composer; set some AO poetry

pop cult musician; p204 of his journals with AO clipping

poet, editor

H.D. scholar

poet

poet, co-founder of Cave Canem, close friend

poet, co-founder of Kelsey St. Press

poet, essayist

Rutgers colleague

poet--and Tony, painter

poet

poet-critic

head of Children's Defense Fund (met at Bellagio)

Rutgers colleague; memoirist

poet, founder of Berkeley Poets Co-op

poet

translator, Princeton Classics professor

scholar of Hebrew literature

Jewish literature professor and translator

poet

poet

Blake scholar, Sexton scholar, essayist, poet, close friend

poet

poet

poet

Israeli journalist

Israeli novelist, dramatist, theorist

feminist poet, activist, theorist

poet

poet

former midrash student, rabbi, midrashist & writer, founder of Tel Shemesh and Kohenet, close friend

poet, novelist

poet, head of AnticoLA low-res poetry program, editor Red Hen Arktoi imprint

poet (letter on AO Songs)

poet

feminist literary critic, memoirist

poet, Akhmatova translator

poet

poet

poet-critic; interview with AO, editor of Innovative Women Poets

literary critic, Brandeis professor

feminist scholar

poet, essayist

former student, poet-activist

poet & translator, Jerusalem

feminist scholar, photographer

poet

poet, fiction writer

poet, fiction writer, essayist, close friend

poet

poet

fiction writer

poet-critic

poet

poet, Rukeyser biographer

former student, ecocritic

poet

fiction writer, met at McDowell

poet

critic, biographer of Anne Sexton, Plath-Hughes

poet, publisher of Momentum Press, published 1st ed of Mother/Child Papers

poet, editor

poet, editor

poet

novelist, essayist

poet

husband

poet, fiction writer

critic

poet, novelist, editor

poet

Misc. correspondence

[committee]

poet, editor Prairie Schooner

feminist poet, essayist

New Testament scholar

poetry critic

rabbi, writer, Lilith editor

scholar of Jewish poetry

poet

literary critic, co-editor of Feminist Revision and the Bible

former student, poet, friend

critic, editor Jewish American Poetry

poet

poet

Re: visit 1997

poet

Rutgers colleague, poet

Elbert Lenrow, Spenser Brown, JV Cunningham

poet

[publication]

poet

Swiss translator

critic

UK Press

1997 visit as visiting poet

poet

poet, editor QRL

poet

DLB

Princeton poet

poet

Japanese poet

Rutgers colleague

poet, translator

Source: From the finding aid for C0910

  • Alicia Ostriker Papers. 1956-2015 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0910

    Alicia Ostriker (1937- ) is a Jewish-American feminist literary critic and poet whose work explores themes of family, social justice, Jewish identity, Biblical stories and characters, and the relationship between gender and literature. The collection consists of drafts of her poems, articles, nonfiction books, essays, reviews, and student writings, personal and professional correspondence with fellow poets, family, and friends, teaching and research files, drafts and recordings of lectures and readings, and subject files.