Zaftig
by Molly Raynor  | Poetry  | Published 04-23-2024

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In her exceptional debut collection of poems, Molly Raynor welcomes you to sit at the table with her ancestors, mothers, sisters, friends, and wild women as she glues together moving memories of waxy-lipped kisses and potato peel dresses. Ghosts of the old country, lost loves, and the unborn haunt Zaftig. Raynor’s poems are imbued with deep Judaic traditions and a sprinkle of Yiddish. They burst forth with sensuality, survival, and the push-pull of women’s bodies as coveted flesh. Braiding together words like bread to lay on the table in honor of the beauty & the terror of living, these poems breathe new life. Inspired by the past, but firmly planted in the present, Zaftig joyfully takes up space like the powerful women who fill Raynor’s heart and words.

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Molly Raynor

Molly Pershin Raynor (she/her/hers) is a poet, educator, community builder, and momma to Malachi Moon. Her poetry has been featured on NPR and published in several literary magazines, including Vinyl, The Rumpus, Porkbelly Press, and Split Lip Magazine. 

Molly co-founded “RAW Talent” with Donté Clark, now the RYSE Center’s Performing Arts Program, which serves youth in Richmond, California. Her work is highlighted in the documentary film, "Romeo Is Bleeding" which was on Netflix. Molly won a Jefferson Award for Public Service and a Teachers 4 Social Justice Award for her work in the Bay Area. Six years ago, Molly moved home to Michigan, where she received her Master's in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University and co-founded “Staying Power,” a youth arts activism program (inspired by the Staying Power collective in Richmond, CA.) She is currently the Director of Community at 4.0 Schools.

Molly approaches her work from an intersectional feminist framework rooted in radical imagination and abolitionist pedagogy. She draws inspiration from Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Frida Khalo, and Paulo Freire and from the recipes, jokes, and legacy of her Jewish ancestors. Molly comes from a long line of storytellers and plumbers who taught her how to bend words and weld new worlds.

GET THIS BOOK

AADL Library Card holders:

Request physical copies: coming soon!

Download the PDF here