About Me back

Esther Cohen

I've often been asked to write a brief biography, to explain who I am--one of those linear statements of life that no one likes to read: I was born here, moved there, traveled in between.

The way we talk about ourselves so rarely tells the reader much: those rational details--my height, my weight, number of husbands, number of children. Titles of my published stories, poems. How I wrote my current novel.

Book Doctor took years to write.

What's often most interesting about all of us is what we do not say. Here's what I can tell you, that you might like to know. I love to write, and always have: the way words fall out right onto a page, out from some mysterious place I do not know. I love stories, especially stories from strangers: the tall foreign woman who sat next to you on a plane, who tells you every single thing she can about her life, then vanishes at the Cleveland airport, leaving you with her story forever.

Books back

  • Breakfast With Allen Ginsberg

    Breakfast With Allen Ginsberg

    "An imprecise while ago, I started writing a poem a day. As an exercise...The poems are a short, funny record (not a Memoir. Not laden with Significance, either) of what happens to me each day. Most of the time it's very little."

  • Dont Mind Me and Other Jewish Lies

    Dont Mind Me and Other Jewish Lies

    The complex, but all too familiar, language of the Artful Untruth... horrifying but hilarious.

  • Book Doctor

    Book Doctor: A Novel

    Arlette Rosen earns her living helping strangers with their book ideas - she believes she knows a good book from a bad one, and believes that all writers should aim to be a Joyce or a Proust. But when Harbinger Singh enters her life needing help with his writing, both their lives are altered forever.

  • No Charge for Looking

    No Charge for Looking

    No Charge for Looking is one of my lifetime obsessions: Jews, Arabs, the city of Nazareth, and a naive American woman trying hard to understand what she sees.

  • God is a Tree

    God is a Tree

    Today, I'm ready
    to write my first prayer.
    It's middle-aged.
    A long time ago
    I had a bas mitzvah.
    I wrote a prayer then too.
    God is a tree was the title.
    Louis Savitsky didn't like it.

  • prayerbook


    Help me
    not want more
    all the time
    to know
    I have
    what I need.

  • unseenamerica


    unseenamerica, an ongoing project in visual history, started in 2000. Nannies, homecare workers, migrants, and scores of others tell the stories of their lives through pictures they take of what they see.

  • god is a tree

    Painting Brooklyn Stories

    Painting Brooklyn Stories is a catalogue of memorable paintings by Nina Talbot of immigrant stories in Brooklyn. I wrote poems about the lives Nina drew. The catalogue accompanied our exhibit, at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

  • Youtube Video

    YouTube Video

    My favorite interviewer, Sheryl McCarthy, asks me some good questions.

Contact back

Get in Contact

I am new to this intangible world, part outer space, part as common as a telephone. I don't understand how it works. How we find one another, how we decide what to say, and how to say it. But I'd like to try, to find you (whoever you are) and to write as much as I can. Let me know what you like and what you don't. And write to me. Write to me.

bookdoctor (at) rcn (dot) com

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