Everyone has a story to tell and with on-going encouragement, everyone can write. In my work with groups and individuals I focus on the writing process and writing as community. I encourage reading aloud and, as such, in 1990 I founded the It's About Time Writers' Reading Series  where beginning and experienced writers and poets read from their work. The series is held on the second Thursday of each month at the Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library.

I view the reading series - as well as the page - as a shelter for self-expression and healing, a way to share one's inner self with others, a place where language-masons maintain contact with each other so they can contribute to an on-going dialogue for progress and for peace within the self and in the world.

Page As Haven

For me, the page is a haven, not for the purpose of hiding, but as a means of cultivating that place within the self that works most effectively to bring about real and metaphorical shelter - regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual preference - to all who live among us -- the homeless, the mentally ill, the disabled, the different, the old. 

I value the sharing of writing with others. To this end, I encourage completion and publication of writing projects.

My recent books Listening to Mozart: Poems of Alzheimer's (2014) and Dear Alzheimer's: A Caregiver's Diary & Poems (2013) both from Cave Moon Press reflect my life with my husband, Abe, during the years of our Alzheimer's experiece.

The Homeless One: A Poem in Many Voices: (Seattle: Kota Press, 2000), a poetic docu-drama about homelessness and schizophrenia, is a response to an email conversation with the late Genevieve Beach. Thanks to Dr. Rudolf Suesske, a psychotherapist in Cologne, Germany, The Homeless One, is now published on line. 

My Ph.D. thesis covers the politics and poetry of Holocaust poetIrena Klepfisz. I am most interested in Klepfisz's use of the poem as a means to confront loss, grief, and history. My essay Irena Klepfisz, Loss and the Poetry of Exile appears in the Sept 2005 issue of The Journal of Poetry Therapy, 

For further examples of my writing in poem, essay and creative non-fiction, please see Publication History.

Awards include a Washington Poets Association Award for Poetry, an American Jewish Historical Association Award for local Jewish history, and a 2010 Jack Straw residency. 
Esther Altshul Helfgott, Ph.D.
This page was last updated on: August 29, 2017

                    for memory, healing & art's sake 
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In My Dream

Patience covers the earth
like a down blanket 
that warms
in Afghanistan, 
Uzbekistan, Georgia,
the West Bank, Gaza, 
Israel, Africa, 
the United States.

In My Dream 

Humility is a mansion
whose roof oversees 
soldiers shedding guns
and whose rooms
house world leaders 
shaking hands. 

In My Dream

Gentleness is no coward.
Love is borderless.
Beams of light have not replaced the two towers.
Danny Pearl is alive.

In My Dream

Poetry raises children
who know peace.
             - Esther Altshul Helfgott


A Sampling, includes Richard Hugo House, North Seattle Community College, Council House, Lifetime Learning Center

Women's writing groups, Cancer Lifeline's Healing Arts Program,  Greenlake site and Northwest Hospital. 

Poeming the Silence, private classes
- Esther reading at Soul Food Books, Redmond, WA .
  by JB Helfgott, urban sketcher