Tag Archives: Hebrew poetry

Moshe Dor

Moshe DorMoshe Dor, born in Tel Aviv in 1932, is one of the most prominent poets in Israel. The author of forty books of poetry, essays, interviews and children’s books, A recipient of the Bialik Prize, Israel’s top literary award, and twice winner of Israel’s Prime Minister’s Award in Literature, he is former President of Israeli P.E.N., Counselor for Cultural Affairs in London, and Distinguished Writer in Residence at American University, Washington, DC. As a young man, Dor joined the Haganah and later worked as a journalist, serving on the editorial board of Ma’ariv, a leading Israeli newspaper. Many of Dor’s poems can be found in Hebrew textbooks and studied by students of all ages. His poems have been translated into some thirty languages, including Arabic and Chinese. Dor is the lyricist of Erev Shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses), one of Israel’s most beloved songs, performed worldwide as a wedding song.

 

Barbara GoldbergBarbara Goldberg, raised in Forest Hills, New York, has worked with Moshe Dor for over twenty years. They have translated and edited several books of contemporary Israeli poetry, including After the First Rain: Israeli Poems on War and Peace with a foreword by then Prime Minister Shimon Peres (University of Syracuse Press), The Stones Remember: Native Israeli Poetry, recipient of the Witter Bynner Foundation Award (The Word Works) and The Fire Stays in Red: Poems by Ronny Someck (University of Wisconsin Press). Goldberg is a poet in her own right, with four prize-winning books of poetry, most recently, The Royal Baker’s Daughter, recipient of the Felix Pollak Poetry Prize (University of Wisconsin Press). Among her awards are two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, numerous grants from the Maryland State Arts Council as well as awards in translation, fiction, feature writing and speechwriting. Goldberg’s work appears in American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, Paris Review and Poetry.  Goldberg, visiting writer in American University’s MFA program, lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Find her website at www.barbaragoldberg.net 

Scorched by the Sun: Poems of Moshe Dor, translated from the Hebrew by Barbara Goldberg and Moshe Dor (The Word Works, 2012) is their most recent collaboration. The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature awarded Goldberg a grant for her translations.

 

Sentimentality

Listening to Russian folk songs while brooding
over dim memories, which even now
are growing dimmer, and biting
your lips as you mull over each
missed opportunity, and feeling
your tears flow without
restraint or shame, oh,
oh what a jerk!

 

MosheDor_Hebrew

Agi Mishol

Translator’s Note on Agi Mishol’s Work:

The poetry of Agi Mishol is evocative, accessible, grounded in the present yet steeped both in Mishol’s personal past and in the public past of Israel. The challenge is to translate the words without removing them from their larger cultural context and also to preserve the gentle lyrical quality that Mishol’s poetry possesses in the original Hebrew. Cynthia Ozick wrote that “a translation can serve as a lens into the underground life of another culture,” and my wish in translating Agi Mishol’s poetry is to create this lens for readers of English.

 

Agi MisholAgi Mishol is an established Israeli poet who has won an array of prizes, including the Yehuda Amichai Prize, the Prime Minister’s Prize and the coveted Dolitzky Prize.  The daughter of Hungarian Holocaust survivors, Agi Mishol was born in Transylvania, Romania in 1946, emigrating to Israel at an early age. Her work has been translated into a number of languages and she has published more than a dozen books of poetry in Hebrew. Look There was published in English by Graywolf Press. Her latest Hebrew poetry collection is entitled Working Order. Agi Mishol directs the Helicon School of Poetry in Tel Aviv.

 

Joanna ChenJoanna Chen (translator) is a British-born journalist and poet. She has published extensively in Newsweek, The Daily Beast, BBC World Service and Radio 4. She has also published world reports on women’s issues in Marie Claire that have been syndicated in the USA, Europe and Australia. Joanna Chen’s poetry has appeared in a number of literary journals both in Israel and abroad, most recently in Poet Lore.  www.joannachen.com

 

 

She-Dog

1.

When she sees me in the morning
coming out of the house toward the fields
she leaps around me leaving
on the path
one long, precise sentence
on happiness.        

2.

Proud of her name
she charges into the crows
just to prove she’s guarding
the yard.

3.

She returns with a chicken in her mouth.
It must have escaped the neighbor’s coop.
She won’t eat it but neither will she let it go,
just stands there steaming with the bird between her teeth
and a shy wag of her tail –
half she-dog, half she-wolf
lost on the border.

4.

She has no money
no clothes
and doesn’t hold a grudge.

When she’s hungry – she eats.
When she’s thirsty – she drinks.
When she’s tired she stretches out
and falls asleep under a bush.

5.

Always by my side
she goes where I want to
before I even get up. 

Orit Gidali

A Note on Orit Gidali’s Work:
Orit Gidali’s poetry transforms a common word or gesture into a multi-dimensional experience by playing upon a word’s lineage and range of meaning. “Beloved” is composed in the language of the Song of Songs, and to achieve a similar echo in English, I used the language of the King James Bible. “Note” refers to the religious prohibition of combining milk and meat in a single meal.

 

Orit Gidali is an Israeli poet. “Note” and “My Beloved” originally appeared in the collection Esrim Ne’arot LeKane [Twenty Girls to Envy Me(Sifriat Poalim, Tel Aviv, 2003).  Gidali is also the author of Smikhut [Closing In(2009), and the children’s book Noona Koret Mahshavot [Noona the Mindreader] (2007). Her books are currently the top-selling poetry in Israel.

 

 

Photo Credit by Bill Wolff

Marcela Sulak (translator) is the author of two collections of poetry, Immigrant (Black Lawrence Press, 2010) and the chapbook Of all the things that don’t exist, I love you best (2008). She has translated three collections of poetry from 19th century Czech and from Congolese French. Her poetry and essays are forthcoming in such journals as Guernica, Black Warrior Review, Cimmaron Review, The Journal, and Iowa Review. She directs the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University, where she is a senior lecturer.


My beloved

by Orit Gidali (translated by Marcela Sulak)

Filled were my days with suns.
Filled were my days with love.
When he comes to the door I will open to him
and I will be wet loam.
*
The balcony of my body is rosemary for him
and he, clusters of vines.
Sometimes, in the darkness, before his sleep,
I hear a grape opening.
*
Behold, here he arrives at the gate,
he removes the breastplate of his clothing
set with shards from the floor of our house.
*
He kisses me and permits me
to lay my ribs
in the space between his ribs.
I return to him.

B.
He poeticizes our sated bodies
in the ears of friends.
They hear and are burned
as one who imagines the taste of a lemon.

Then he waves goodbye.
The movement of his hand caresses from afar
all the organs of my body.

C.
He kisses my extended hand,
fingers like the lashes of an eyelid.
He is a man who holds an etrog,
he brings his nose close to smell it.
*
My beloved who found a woman,
he looked for and found her in himself.
She is beautiful, she is more beautiful than I.
*
A well is full of lace,
fine lace, my love.
When my hands roll away the rock
the white light spills out.

 

Note

by Orit Gidali (translated by Marcela Sulak)

My beloved wakes up,
my body warm on him,
meat mixes with milk.