Leatrice H. Lifshitz



Leatrice Lifshitz is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in several anthologies and literary journals. She also edited Voices: Jews in a Circle, which investigated the meaning of Jewish memory. Her novel, One Crack, Two Crack, Three Cracks, Four was a finalist in the 1988 Will Cather fiction contest, and her novel, And There Will Be No Wolves, was a finalist in the Hemingway First Novel contest. She edited Her Soul beneath the Bone: Women’s Poetry on Breast Cancer (1988) and Only Morning in Her Shoes: Poetry about Women (1990). Leatrice Lifshitz explained in her introduction that this collection of poems represented “an attempt to return old women to the circle, to the continuum of women and of life.”  She also wrote of her desire “to invade the stereotype of the old woman and to expose it as the one-dimensional caricature that it is”. Lifshitz won many awards for her haiga, tanka, rengay and haibun, including First place in the Harold G. Henderson Awards (1997), the Haiku Society of America’s Gerald Brady Senryu Award (1999), Honorable Mentions at the 2000 TSA International Tanka Contest etc.

In A Purple So Deep..., an anthology of haiku collected by Leatrice Lifshitz in 2001, she has rediscovered a way to add to the enjoyment of haiku. In addition to picking up excellent poems to represent each author, Leatrice managed to present in a very original way haiku interspersed with relevant prose by asking each poet for a paragraph to explain how or why the haiku was written.

Leatrice Lifshitz died on 10 March 2003 after a two year struggle with cancer.


Other publications in anthologies and journals:


·         Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust, edited by Charles Adés Fishman (Time Being Books, 2007);

·         Bittersweet Legacy: Creative Responses to the Holocaust: Art, Poetry, Stories, Edited by Cynthia Moskowitz Brody, University Press of America, 2001;

·         The Art of Haikuby Gerald England, 2000;

·         Beyond Lament: Poets of the World Bearing Witness to the Holocaust, edited by Marguerite M. Striar, Northwestern University Press, 1998;

·         An Anthology of Haiku by people of the United States and Canada, edited by William J.Higginson, Adele Kenny, Hiroaki Sato & Cor Van Den Heuvel. New York, Japan Air Lines, 1988;

·         Her Soul beneath the Bone: WOMEN'S POETRY ON BREAST CANCER, Leatrice Lifshitz (Editor), University of Illinois Press, 1988.



Kalliope, Modern Haiku, Poets On, Sing Heavenly Muse! , Slant: A Journal of Poetry, Stone Country, Women’s Quarterly Review, “Haiku: ASequence.” StoneC (11:3/4) Spring - Summer 84, p.36

and others.


Selected work:

the river-
coming to it with nothing
in my hands


my tracks… their tracks…

suddenly face to face

with returning geese


snowstorm –

the old snowman leaning

into it


winter thaw –

the deer’s blood still frozen

to its face


without breeze

the silence of the windchime

by the stream


glass doors –

the old cat pauses before

entering the night



again the windowsill plant

insists on blooming


(from Haiku Moment: An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku by Bruce Ross)


The following haiku won first place in the Harold G. Henderson Awards (1997):


the river—

coming to it with nothing

in my hands



leafless trees

and beyond them leafless trees

and the highway


at the edge

just as I let my hair down

the blue heron flies


(The Heron’s Nest , Volume V, Number 12: December, 2003)



that four o'clock bird–


we share the dawn



the butterfly and I

just in time


(The Heron’s Nest , Volume I, Number 3: November, 1999)



Some jisei – from American Death Poems by Ruth Franke (publ. at The Haiku Foundation):


slowly the old woman

opens the door

to join the wind



the path along the river

grows narrow


autumn grass


with one shadow




the old woman turns in bed

waiting for the sun

to reach the tulip tree

already yellow


(Honourable Mention at the 2000 TSA International Tanka Contest)











Index of American Periodical Verse 1984, by Rafael Catalá, James D. Anderson, p.359.