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.
israel in translation
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 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.
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.
“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.
“Petty Business” is a tale of two families, related by marriage, who are shop owners in 1980s Israel. Rarely are middle-aged, petit bourgeois families the protagonists of Israeli literature, but Yirmi Pinkus, who is also a graphic artist known for his humor, delivers a strangely compelling story.
Today we feature poetry by Sheikha Helawy, a Bedouin woman born in the unmarked Bedouin village of El-Roi, on the outskirts of the city of Haifa, and who today lives in Jaffa. Her poems were originally written in Arabic and in Hebrew.
Moshe Sakal’s novel, The Diamond Setter, is part mystery, part family history, and part myth. The plot centers around a lost blue diamond called Sabakh. The novel’s main storyteller, Tom, becomes romantically involved with a young man from Damascus who may or may not be connected to the cursed diamond.
Originally written in English, the memoir translates the study of the Talmud’s “Daf Yomi” into a life story. The Talmud is the main book of rabbinic teachings and is the basis for all codes of Jewish law. The memoir begins in the wake of a painful divorce, when Ilana decides to begin this 7 ½ year long study, one page at a time.