Eve Rifkah

Eve Rifkah


Born: April 1, 1948

Biography

On April 1, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts, Eve was born to the parents of Nellie and Victor Bravman. Eveís childhood has had a great influence on her work as a poet even though she does not write about herself. Victor, her father, was a fabric cutter and an artist. From a young age, he introduced Eve to the arts by taking her to museums. It was one trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston that she took with her father when she was about seven years old that has inspired Eve to write a chapbook about Suzanne Valadon. Being just a child in such a large museum, Eve was walking down a hallway and at the very end of it an enormous painting of a beautiful woman caught her attention. Her father told her that Suzanne was a model with a name. This childhood experience followed her through her life as she began to learn more about Suzanne Valadonís life and how much it paralleled her own.

Eve grew up in Dorchester, MA where she attended the local Dorchester schools. When she was in about fourth or fifth grade, Eve worked at the Dorchester library during the summertime where she not only found it to be a great learning experience but also encouraged her to read. However, Eve and her family moved to Canton, MA when she was thirteen years old and where she continued her education and graduated from Canton High School in 1965. Upon her high school graduation, Eve attended Quincy Junior College (now recognized as Quincy College) but was unable to complete her degree, married at the age of nineteen and in January 1968 Eve had a baby boy.

Later on, Eve divorced her husband and decided she wanted to change her last name. In doing so, Eve changed her last name to Rifkah which is Eve in Hebrew. Following her divorce, Eve encountered many challenges. She was on welfare for thirteen years and had various jobs. She tried to become a computer test technician but the computer industry collapsed and companies were not hiring recent technicians. This caused Eve to look for other jobs and one that she landed was a free-lance reporter for the Montachusset Telegram & Gazette. Within her ten years of working there, Eveís interest in writing grew. Also, Eve was a part-time compositor for seventeen years.

As her pursuit for writing continued, Eve joined the John Hodgenís writing workshop where she completed the optional assignments and worked extensively for nine to ten years on her writing. Then in 1998, Eve published her first poem in a literary journal that is written in brail called Discovery.

At the Leprosarium and Outcasts. It was the double meaning that the word leprosy held that really interested Eve to learn more about the disease and write about it. The idea that leprosy can be seen as just a disease and then the deeper meaning that leprosy can also be used to define an outcast to society. The concept that being different than others causes seclusion and isolation just how Penikese Island was where the lepers were sent to once diagnosed with the infamous disease.

Moreover, Eve became more involved in writing and became a board member to the Worcester County Poetry Association. Through her hunt for literature and writing, Eve attended many poetry readings and at a reading she was able to meet her current husband Michael Milligan. In 1998, both Eve and Michael decided they wanted to create an organization that focused on education and local poets and thus formed a non-profit literary association known as Poetry Oasis, Inc. This organization then became a stepping stone to the literary journal Diner which began in 2001 where Eve was the editor and Abby Millage was the co-editor. The journal was very successful in which it had 12 issues produced over a seven year period. During that time, Eve also decided that she would like to go back to school so she applied to the MFA program at Vermont College and was accepted. In 2002, Eve graduated from Vermont College with a MFA.

As Eve researched more of Suzanne Valadonís past, something just spoke out to her. She automatically saw how similar the two womenís lives were. Eve found out that Suzanne had grown up struggling with finances, she had a son when she was nineteen, had a passion for art and also had two marriages. This is what Eve had experienced in her life and was amazed with the connection that she had with this model who she never knew. Thus Eve wrote her chapbook Dear Suzanne.

Eve has taught at Worcester State College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She is currently a professor at Fitchburg State College.

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