From A to Z and Everything in Between: “Letters” Poetry


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This week, host Marcela Sulak features Israeli poetry from the current issue of a special international journal based in Israel called The Ilanot Review. Each issue is themed, and the current issue is called “Letters.” It covers all aspects of letters, from the alphabet, to the epistolary. The Ilanot Review is edited by alumni and faculty from the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University publishes an expanse of writers in English translation and in English originals.

Here is an excerpt from Abraham Sutzkever’s poem, “I Owe You an Answer to Your Letter,” translated from the Yiddish by Maia Evrona:

I owe you an answer to your letter, written
before you were born, before you had dressed for summer,
spring, autumn and winter, our seasons. Your gown
of wild red poppies loves for me to remember.

I owe you an answer to your sweet bundle of hair:
a sign lost with the river, the distance for me to cover.
The sunset has been overwhelmed by a dark gravedigger.
Only a breeze carries your hair’s scent and that sweetness to me.

Music:
Avdei Zman by Etti Ankri

Text:
Yonathan Berg, “To My Mother,” translated by Joanna Chen
Vaan Nguyen, “Metropolitan Pieces,” translated by Adriana X. Jacobs
Avraham Sutzkever, Two Poems, translated by Maia Evrona
Tahel Frosh, “This is What Happened,” translated by Yosefa Raz
Rafi Weichert, “Odyssey,” translated by Karen Alkalay Gut

Click here to make a submission to The Ilanot Review.

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