Falk sitting on a staircase
Berkeley poet and painter Marcia Falk (Photo/Cathleen Maclearie)

Berkeley writer Marcia Falk releases newest collection of liturgical poems

The books section is supported by a generous donation from Anne Germanacos.

Tired of praying to kings and patriarchy, Marcia Falk has created a new book of poems, blessings and art inspired by nature.

Falk’s limited-edition “Inner East: Illuminated Poems and Blessings” pairs each written piece with one of her original paintings. The poems are in English and the blessings are in both English and Hebrew.

“This new book has paintings across the writing, which I hoped would help people have a more deepening sense of prayer, visually, and deepen their appreciation for the natural world,” the East Bay poet and artist said.

Falk is the author of numerous groundbreaking books that offer alternative and supplementary prayers, blessings and meditations for religious services, gatherings and personal reflection, including “The Days Between,” “The Book of Blessings” and “This Year in Jerusalem.”

“These books were giving people a new resource for being Jewish and being able to participate in the Jewish community,” noted Falk. “They are rooted in tradition and in Hebrew, and at the same time, they move people with poetic language.”

Falk studied painting in her youth at the Art Students League and took classes at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Originally from Long Island, she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Brandeis University and a doctorate in English and comparative literature from Stanford, and was a Fulbright scholar in Bible and Hebrew literature in Jerusalem.

She has been a university professor for two decades, teaching Hebrew and English literature, Jewish studies, Bible and creative writing at several universities, including Stanford. She is also working on a Passover book she describes as “theological poetic meditations.”


“Inner East, Illuminated Poems and Blessings” (106 pages, available at marciafalk.com)

Tova Ricardo
Tova Ricardo

Tova Ricardo is a student at Columbia University and the former youth poet laureate of Oakland. She was J.'s 2019 summer intern.