A folio is a small collection of works related by theme, medium, or process. Folios can be the work of a single author/artist, or a collective effort of multiple contributors. Not too short, not too long. Like a chapbook for the internet.
Once Upon a Time the Fire Burned Brighter: Ballads from the Yiddish Gothic— March 1, 2023
In the multimedia album Once Upon a Time the Fire Burned Brighter: Ballads from the Yiddish Gothic, scholar and musician Jeremiah Lockwood opens a doorway into the rich sensorium of the Yiddish ballad. Drawing deeply from the work of legendary Yiddish folk singer Lifshe Schaechter-Widman, the collection reimagines and recasts Yiddish ballads through audio and video performances by Gordon Lockwood (the musical project of Lockwood and drummer Ricky Gordon), which appear beside archival visuals, lyric adaptations, and textual explorations. Once Upon a Time the Fire Burned Brighter invites us to experience a body of Jewish song that emerges from a world of fantasy, memory, and symbol—constituting a Yiddish gothic, a folk expressionism unapologetic in the extremes of its enticing imagery.
Once Upon a Time the Fire Burned Brighter: Ballads from the Yiddish Gothic is available for digital download in the Ayin shop, and is also available to listeners on Spotify and iTunes/Apple Music!
A baby that is also a bird flying away from its nest . . . wet stones in the rain ...
Standing in a Corner
The moon wants a drink of whiskey, but she has no money.
Once Upon a Time the Fire Burned Brighter
Don’t stab yourself, my beloved, for what troubles you is all for nothing.
Kapelya: Unveiling a Feminine Sound in Hasidic Song— February 22, 2023
There are gates, both heavenly and innerworldly, that cannot be opened except by melody and song. In the Chabad-Lubavitch community where Chana Raskin grew up, this was common knowledge: sacred song is a vehicle for both personal and collective transformation. From a young age, Raskin was deeply connected to the nigunim (melodies) and musical traditions that surrounded her. She internalized the melodies of hundreds of voices singing, merging in a sea of sound. For years after she moved away from home, she sang these melodies alone, until she took a leap and began teaching traditional nigunim to groups of women through the musical listening and performance project RAZA.
RAZA’s new album Kapelya, a deeply moving recording of twenty-two women singing Hasidic nigunim, is a love letter to the songs Raskin grew up with, and an inspired addition to the wild and sacred history of efforts to preserve and expand Hasidic musical traditions. In this multimedia folio, which presents reflections on several nigunim from the album, Raskin attempts to trace the resonance and meaning of the project as a whole—its potential for healing and transformation—on the page, as well as in song and photographic documentation.
Kapelya: Unveiling a Feminine Sound in Hasidic Song is a project of Ayin Press and Hadar’s Rising Song Institute.
I grew up in the Hasidic section of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, as part of the Chabad-Lubavitch community. From a young ...
Hasidic women have not typically had the opportunity to refract the light of our teachers in song.
Ah Shtarker Bistu
Nigunim were sung to me from the time I was born.
The Holy Folio— January 9, 2023
The Holy Folio is a supplement to Ayin’s second annual journal, which explored the transformative figure of the Holy Fool. A collection of works that engage with poetic leaps into the unknown, and experiment with the limits of storytelling and coherence, The Holy Folio is a meditation on foolishness itself as a fundamental state and practice of creativity. As Tom Haviv writes in his editor’s note: “May the holy foolishness of this folio be an invitation to you, dear reader—to create, against all odds, against hedging, and against reason—to create with wild hope, and to fail with relish; to let go of fairy tales, and to let more and more stories in—as radiant ephemera—always resisting final explanation—each story affixing itself—a star—to a wider and wider—albeit infinite—constellation.”
The Holy Folio: Editor’s Note
May Ayin’s tent be a circus of liberation: a home for those unmoored from master narratives, a home for those who find, in the unraveling of our inherited paradigms, the very possibility of freedom.
I Am Qohelet
I sat in the street, and imagined things that never happened
Fox Banquet: the path, memory, grasses
there is an invitation to elegance / embossed in all bodies
Towards a Visionary Poetics: A Female Gaze— August 3, 2022
Curated by the poet-scholars Yosefa Raz and Shoshana Olidort, Towards a Visionary Poetics: A Female Gaze features literary work on the place(s) where women’s voices, poetics, and prophecy meet, shift the ground, and create something new. In her introduction, Olidort writes: “The poems and prose reflections assembled in this folio represent just a few slices in the vast range of contemporary perspectives on what it means to envisage, as people who are not cis male, a different kind of world than the patriarchal one we inherited. If prophecy is, at its core, about the power of language, these explorations imagine how we might wield language to do something other than what’s been done with it before: to reclaim the past, rather than try to predict the future; to seek transformation, not transcendence, in our material world.”
So much still remains unwritten, unspoken, hidden from view.
The Return of the Repressed: Women Poets & the Sacred
I am sketching a tradition of gynocentric spirituality that is ripe with poets.
Ars Poetica & New Moon Practice
We have to imagine everyone is contagious now / An odd kind of love but love all the same
Ya Ghorbati: Divas in Exile— April 6, 2022
In the multimedia album Ya Ghorbati, singer Laura Elkeslassy musically excavates her family’s history in Morocco, France, and Israel, coming face-to-face with forgotten ancestors and reclaiming a lost family name. Developed in collaboration with music director Ira Khonen Temple, this project weaves together the stories of Judeo-Arab divas from the last century with original recordings and new performances of folk and sacred music. Ya Ghorbati looks across time and space to tell a tale of political upheaval, exile, and displacement—ultimately questioning the supposed binary of Arab and Jew.
How did the rupture between Arab and Jewish worlds come to affect us collectively and individually?
L’Orientale | Line Monty
As the song continues, it opens up, revealing contradictory layers underneath.
Ala Srir Ennoum | Habiba Msika
Msika’s bold nonconformity and tragic fate resonated deeply with her contemporaries, and fascinate me now.
Field of the Letter Vav— February 7, 2022
The pieces collected in our first folio, Field of the Letter Vav, are gathered from the fields of poetry, fiction, memoir, and prayer. In his editor’s note, Eden Pearlstein offers a gloss on what this kaleidoscopic collection might signify: an exploration of connectivity, transformation, and transport. As Eden writes, “A Field of the Letter Vav might suggest a creative space in which one is invited to identify with others beyond themselves, and to travel in time—deeper into the present, back into the past, or forward into an imagined future.”
Editor’s Note: Field of the Letter Vav
The letter Vav, a simple vertical line, is the sixth letter in the Hebrew Aleph-Bet. Grammatically, the Vav functions as the word “and,” serving to connect ideas and entities to what lies beyond or outside themselves.
The Biblical Garden & Other Poems
Some secrets can only be learned in refusal
Turkey Talk for Reb Nachman
I know any place I’ve been, you’ve been a hundred times before.