The first German Youth-Aliyah group walking to Kibbutz Ein Harod in 1933. Photo by Zoltan Kluger/National Photo Collection

Tuvia Ruebner is a poet who was born was born in multi-ethnic Bratislava, Slovakia in 1924 and received permission to enter British Mandate Palestine in 1941. To this day, he translates his work into German, and all of it has been published in Germany. In Hebrew, he is the author of fifteen volumes of poetry, two photograph albums, and a monograph on the poetry of his close friend, writer-scholar Lea Goldberg, as well as other literary criticism and translations.

Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at
Haifa University and an accomplished photographer since his teenage years, Ruebner has been awarded his country’s highest honor, the Israel Prize in 2008, as well as numerous literary awards, and has received international recognition as well, including the Konrad Adenauer Literature Prize in 2012, bestowed by the German government.

Here is an excerpt from his poem, “On Time”:

Are you asking me about time?
It’s no friend of mine. Why talk
about faceless time? Because it will never look you in the eye,
but suddenly strikes and claims
there’s nothing like it to heal wounds?
Because it whispers sweet consolations in your ear,
crushes your body in one blow,
and tosses it away at a forsaken angle?

Ismail by Guta Guta
Raia’s Dream by Guta Guta

Tuvia Ruebner, Late Beauty. Translated by Lisa Katz and Shahar Bram. Zephyr Press, 2017.

Previous episode of “Israel in Translation” featuring poems by Tuvia Ruebner.

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