Symbol and Struggle: Poetry from Eli Eliahu

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Eli Eliahu is a poet who lives in Ramat-Gan. Recently, his work has begun to be translated and published into English. Eliahu’s work can be playful and fanciful, but it is also socially engaged. He has described his poetry as “a documentation of the struggle of the individual against [the] background” of “a very stressed, crowded, violent and noisy country.” Eliahu has published two highly praised books in Hebrew, “I, and Not an Angel” (2008) and “City and Fears” (2011). He is the recipient of the 2014 Levi Eshkol Prime Minister’s Poetry Prize and writes for Haaretz on poetry and culture. Host Marcela Sulak reads six of his poems on today’s episode.

Here is Eliahu’s poem “Alibi,” translated by Adriana X. Jacobs:

The day it happened we were sitting in a coffee shop. We can vouch for each other. Later we took the usual route home. The neighbors we ran into can confirm that. And then we watched some TV like we always do and went to bed. We didn’t get up the entire night. We tossed and turned a little bit, but mostly slept soundly (love, we thought, covers all crimes). If anyone asks about the kid who was burned alive, we have the perfect alibi. Our eyes did not see it, our hands did not shed this blood.

The Joy Of Lina (Farha) by Ihsan Al Munzer
Cacha Merakdim Beisrael by Hanna Ahroni

All works by Eli Eliahu
“Crossroads” and “Simple Thing,” translated by Kevin Haworth
“Alibi,” translated by Adriana X. Jacobs
“Recommendation,” “On How I am Like a Pencil,” and “Under the Ground,” translated by Vivian Eden

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