Saturday, December 1, 2007

Metaphores for Fun


On paper, poetry doesn't stand a chance at the "Desert Poetry Days" festival, primarily because of its location. The Sde Boker desert educational facility is situated right on the clifftop overlooking this:


Desert nights also have a bad influence on "Desert Poetry Days". Gather scores of passionate souls from across the country, many of them young and unattached (or pretend-unattached) to a secluded oasis and you're going to get some serious sexual tension and the breaking thereof. It's interesting to see how unpoetical poets can be when casually courting. A party at nearby kibbutz Sde Boker was the primary amorous crucible of the festival. It was wild, loud and filled with such complex works of verse as:

Heeeyyy... Yaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)
Heeeyyy... Yaaaaaaa.. (Don't want to meet your daddy, OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (Just want you in my Caddy OHH OH)

No one showed any criticism and the older poets who stayed by the clifftop, drinking vodka and chatting, weren't taking life a lot more seriously. There are exceptions there, of course. Editor and poet Raffi Weichert annoyed me earlier in the evening by announcing that he is editing an anthology of contemporary Hebrew verse that is to be "devoid of junk and vanity". Junk and vanity clearly being the experimental works of the younger scene. I quickly let him know that a competing, kickass anthology is a long time in the works.

What Weichert overlooks as an editor is that poetry is an adventure. So vast canyons, Outkast and hormones can go very well with it, and broadening its horizons doesn't render it junk.

The most successful event of the ones I attended this year was a half-impromptu nocturnal session with high school students. "Ma'ayan" poets Chicky Arad and Nimrod Kamer, popular poet Rony Somek and yours truly brought a guitar, a few original works and a translation of a poem by Brecht. The students shared their own material which was both spicy and precise. They amazed us with their talent.

This morning I mediated a panel with editors of the "younger" literary reviews. This was no easy task after two nights without much sleep, but we held the event outdoors in a small ampitheater and all present, including the 100 or so spectators, were being relaxed and fun (and equally tired). I was impressed by the editors of "Dakah", published in Beer Sheva, and experienced for the first time some of impressive poetry appearing in "Meshiv Haruach", a journal dedicated to Jewish themed verse. Poetry ended up taking center stage after all. I even went on directly from the panel to an indoor reading session, but not before stopping at the clifftop where a herd of gazelles was leisurely hanging out, taking in the view of the expanses and having a little romantic daydream of my own.

In the photos: Chicky jamming (with Yehezkel and Seffi) Matti Shmueloff flirting (with Michal but not with Ellain) Yours truly reciting (with a few young poets waiting to strutt their own stuff).



1 comment:

Masha said...

i heard somewhere that the old arabian poetry is the most beautiful beacause they had only the desert and the sky to look at.