NORTH ADAMS -- Longtime Berkshire resident Rachel Barenblat, rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel, has a new simcha (joyous occasion) to celebrate: the publication of "Waiting to Unfold," her second collection of poetry, written during the first year of parenthood.
Barenblat wrote one poem during each week of her son's first year of life, chronicling the wonder and the delight, along with the pain of learning to nurse, the exhaustion of sleep deprivation, and the dark descent into -- and eventual ascent out of -- postpartum depression.
"I'm really excited about this collection," Barenblat said in the news release announcing the publication. "I hope it finds its way into the hands of pregnant women and new parents -- particularly those who may grapple with postpartum depression. I think these poems show both that PPD is real -- and that it is survivable, and that there's redemption on the other side of that journey."
She adds that the book will also be meaningful to parents with older children -- and to those who are not parents but may be interested in the journey and the transformations of parenthood.
Barenblat holds a master of fine arts degree from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is author of "70 faces" (Phoenicia 2011), a collection of poems arising out of conversation with Torah. She is also author of four previous chapbooks of poetry, among them "What Stays" (Bennington Writing Seminars Alumni Chapbook Series, 2002) and "chaplainbook" (Laupe House Press, 2006.)
A handful of Berkshire events featuring Barenblat and "Waiting to Unfold" are planned, among them a lunchtime talk sponsored by Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at Knesset Israel in Pittsfield)on June 3, a reading at Congregation Beth Israel on June 9 and a reading at The Book Loft in Great Barrington on June 23. The readings at CBI and at the Book Loft will be co-sponsored by MotherWoman and the Berkshire County Perinatal Support Network.
"Waiting to Unfold" is available at www.phoeniciapublishing.com/waiting-to-un
fold.html) and on Amazon; copies will be available in local bookstores soon.