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On this week’s episode, host Marcela Sulak reads poems written by Miri ben Simhon and translated by Lisa Katz. Ben Simhon was born January 13, 1950, in Marseille, France. She was the youngest of three children of Moroccan parents from Fez, born on the family’s way to the new state of Israel. In April of that year, the family arrived by boat and was settled in a Jerusalem transit camp. In 1955 the children and their mother moved to permanent housing in the Katamonim neighborhood in the western part of the city, home to many poor immigrants. Her four collections of poetry demonstrates a tremendous grasp of social reality and human power relations.

This is an excerpt from “Girl from the Slums (A Longitudinal Slice)”:

“A dark girl with acne
Aliza Alfandari
in a place meant for others
washes clothes
as one who does God’s bidding
afterwards she’ll scrub the floor
arrange flowers in a vase.
Her blouse matches her skirt.
She doesn’t care about the spots on her face
and covers them with make-up. Her virtues
don’t depend on this at all.
She fulfills her duties carefully
and knows very well who’s right and who isn’t.
Sometimes she explodes, but only for good reason,
when you consider the fact that so many people don’t know how to behave.”

Miri ben Simhon died in 1996, in an auto accident.

All poems by Miri ben Simhon, translated by Lisa Katz, Poetry International Rotterdam 

Reflection – Thomas Ben Tov
Iche – Liebe
Articulation – Thomas Ben Tov

Producer: Ariella Plachta
Technical producer: Tammy Goldenberg

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