Israel in Translation

Learning Through Translation

Today we feature poems translated by Aya Abu Riash, Yavni Bar-Yam, and Hiba Jiryis, who are all translation seminar students at Bar-Ilan University. After studying and discussing various translation theories, poetic traditions, and styles, each student chose a poet and translated their work.

Helawy’s “R.A. Looks for His Eyes”

This short story is by Sheikha Helawy, a Bedouin woman living in Jaffa. The story consists of a letter from the “Letters to the Editor” section of the newspaper. The writer, who goes by “R.A.”, is searching for his eyes. How did he lose them? Will anyone be able to help?

The Poet Who Longed for the Future: David Avidan

David Avidan worked as a self-described “poet, painter, filmmaker, publicist, and playwright.” He was often attacked by poetry critics who criticized him as being egocentric, chauvinistic, and technocratic. In an interview, Avidan proclaimed: “My arena is the entire planet. Israel is but a small piece of land. I don’t work in Tel Aviv. I work from Tel Aviv.”

Giving Voice to Those Traditionally Left Out: Roy Hasan

“He challenges the cultural gatekeepers to look beyond the traditional topics, tropes and metaphors toward a different, more inclusive version of Hebrew poetry that reflects the lived experience of those that have been traditionally left outside of the canon.” That’s the poetry of Roy Hasan.

Bringing Innovation to Hebrew Poetry Since the 1950s: Natan Zach

Natan Zach has had a great influence on the development of modern Hebrew poetry. He favors a ‘poetics of modesty’, simple poetics without undue simplification. Zach has been called “the most articulate and insistent spokesman of the modernist movement in Hebrew poetry.”

“I’m the Mizrahi”: Adi Keissar’s New Wave of Mizrahi Poetry

Named by Haaretz as the most influential of contemporary poets, Adi Keissar is an Israeli poet of Yemenite descent, and is the founder of the popular Ars Poetica project. Today we feature some of Keissar’s poetry.

The Poetic Translations of Peter Cole

Today we focus on the work of a particular translator—Peter Cole. Marcela reads a selection from Cole’s anthology, “Hymns and Qualms, New and Selected Poems and Translations.”

Asenath Barzani: The First Known Woman Rabbi

Asenath Barzani was the first known woman rabbi in Jewish history. The only child of an eminent rabbi in Kurdistan, she was trained to be a learned scholar. After her father’s death, she became the head teacher at the Yeshiva. Asenath was famous for her Hebrew poetry.

“Some Day”: Shemi Zarhin’s Best-Selling Novel

On the shores of Israel’s Sea of Galilee lies the city of Tiberias, and in Shemi Zarhin’s novel Some Day, it is a place bursting with sexuality and longing for love. Zarhin’s hypnotic writing renders a painfully delicious vision of individual lives behind Israel’s larger national story.

A Digital Window into Gaza: Mosab’s Facebook Poetry

“We never chose to be involved in a war. The decision-makers never think of us as real people, with minds to think and hearts to feel. We have lives ahead of us. No one seems to notice.” Today, we share the work of one poet in Gaza whose work opens a tiny window to what’s happening on the other side.