It is one of those fabled stories: Two young poets set out on different life journeys only to meet again years later to discover that their friendship still inspires and encourages their individual works of writing.

American-born Israeli poet Betsy Rosenberg and local poet and author Judith Rose will give a reading at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the McKibbin Hall Auditorium at Pacific Union College Preparatory School. It is a poetry reading that will reunite two artists whose friendship and creative works have been sustained and supported across continents of space and time.

Rosenberg left the United States after high school to live and work in Jerusalem as a musician, editor and translator of works by Israeli authors David Grossman, Aharon Appelfeld, Gabriel Preil, Miron C. Izakson and others.

St. Helena author Judith Rose – a friend of Rosenberg’s in high school – traveled a different route to become a published author of short stories and poems while teaching at U.C. Davis and Allegheny College. For more than 30 years the two had no communication until by chance – around 2000 – they exchanged notes. Through subsequent correspondence they rekindled the friendship that had originally been fostered by their mutual love of literature so many years before. They began sharing their poems – collaborating with each artist’s eye and ear – as they both began preparing collections to be published.

In 2012 Rose published “Walking the Minefield” through Finishing Line Press. The title of the collection of poems reflects her experience of walking behind her son through a minefield in Cambodia. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder wrote of this volume, “A remarkable collection, deeply lived. And many living beings: small, diverse, intense, invoked along the way.”

This month Rosenberg’s own collection of poems, “A Future More Vivid,” has been published by Sheep Meadow, and Rosenberg’s reading in Angwin is one stop on a tour that includes presentations in Davis and San Francisco with Rose, as well as in Boston and Chicago. Rose describes Rosenberg’s poetry as “quite wonderful, often short and deeply resonant; she often refers to the Old Testament with an emphasis upon peace and reconciliation.”

The reading is free to the public and will include a signing of both poets’ books, which will be available for purchase. It is hosted by the Pacific Union College department of English.

(Stockwell and Rose have been married for more than 40 years.)


Tom Stockwell is currently a staff writer for the St. Helena Star. He is an author of fiction and non-fiction books and has been a working journalist for a variety of technical publications as well as a consultant for numerous wineries in the Napa Valley.

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