Ruth Whitman

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Ruth Whitman (1922–1999)[1] was an American poet, translator, and professor. Her eighth and last book is Hatshepshut, Speak to me (Wayne State University Press, 1992), and her most well-known and well-regarded is Tamsen Donner: A Woman’s Journey (Alice James Books, 1977). She also translated poetry from Yiddish, and wrote the beloved poem Sisters.[2] Her honors and awards include a Senior Fulbright Writer-in-Residence Fellowship to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a Bunting Institute Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship.[3] Her poems were published in literary journals and magazines including AGNI[4] and Ploughshares.[5] She was an early cooperative member of Alice James Books,[6] and was the poetry editor for Radcliffe Quarterly from 1980 - 1995.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Ruth (Bashein) Whitman, the oldest daughter of Meyer David and Martha H. (Sherman) Bashein, was born on May 28, 1922, in New York City. She received a B.A. and an M.A. from Radcliffe College, and also taught at Radcliffe, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology during her career. At the time of her death, she lived in Middletown, Rhode Island, and was married to Morton Sacks (her third husband), a painter, and had three children, Rachel, Lee, and David. Her first marriage was to Cedric Whitman and her second to Firman Houghton.[8][9]

Published works[edit]

Full-length Poetry Collections

  • Hatshepshut, Speak to me (Wayne State University Press, 1992)
  • Laughing Gas: Poems, New and Selected, 1963-1990 (Wayne State University Press, 1990)
  • The testing of Hanna Senesh (Wayne State University Press, 1986, with a historical background by Livia Rothkirchen)
  • Permanent Address (Alice James Books, 1980)
  • Tamsen Donner: A Woman's Journey (Alice James Books, 1977)
  • The Passion of Lizzie Borden (October House, 1973)
  • The Marriage Wig and Other Poems (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968)
  • Blood & Milk Poems (Clarke & Way, 1963)


  • The selected poems of Jacob Glatstein (October House, 1972)
  • An anthology of modern Yiddish poetry (October House, 1966)


  • Becoming a Poet: Source, Process, Practice (The Writer,Inc., 1982)



External links[edit]