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Greenberg Center to Offer First Annual Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry Award

Posted 03/06/2013
Posted by David Isgur

Poetry is thought to have been one of the first forms of writing in the Bible. The great Jewish poets throughout the ages have created the book of Psalms, much of the liturgy, and in the Middle Ages the writings of the great Hebrew, Yiddish, and Ladino poets fueled the imaginations of generations of Jewish men, women and children. In our own time, Israeli and American Jewish poets have created a continuation of the poetry art form in a chain which stretches back some four thousand years.

In this spirit, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford announces the establishment of the Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry Award. It will be an annual award to an American poet whose published poetry is considered to have significance for the American Jew. It is the Greenberg Center’s hope that this award will re-kindle an active interest in poetry as a cultural art form of the Jewish people.

The award was established by the family of Muriel Hoff, an American Jewish poet in North Carolina. She is the author of two books of inspired poems, Messages Via Muriel and The Voice in the Middle of the Night. She is a past president of the Greensboro Writers Club, a member of the Greensboro Group and the Writers’ Group of the Triad and a member of the North Carolina Poetry Society. Hoff is a lifetime member of Hadassah and participant in the Women’s Cabinet of the Greensboro Jewish Federation. 

Just as the Greenberg Center’s Edward Lewis Wallant American Jewish Fiction Award (now in its 50th year) is presented annually (this year it will be on Wednesday, April 17, at 7 p.m.) to an American writer whose published creative work of fiction is considered to have significance for the American Jew, so too, we hope that this American Jewish poetry award will spark young people to present their poetry for the enjoyment and celebration of this ancient Jewish art form.

The award winner will be asked to attend our Gala Greenberg Center Awards Dinner and Program on April 29, at the University of Hartford and will read the poem at the program.

A panel of three faculty members from the University of Hartford will serve as judges for the Hoff award, and they will solicit submissions from college students (ages 18-30) for this year’s competition. The theme for the American Jewish poetry award this year is “Jewish Life in America.”

Only one submission is permitted per poet and submissions cannot be any longer than 100 lines and must be submitted electronically at The deadline is March 22.  No late submissions will be accepted. For more information on the Hoff Poetry Award and for a complete submission check list, contact the Greenberg Center at 860.768.4964 or