Sunday, January 18, 2009

1. It's not really a ceasefire when you declare it unilaterally.

2. Clarity - a desert helps, as do bright planet Venus over the ravine, a good translation of Eeva Kilpi, and old actress Hanna Maron (who acted for Fritz Lang as a child!) strutting out Hanoch Levine's dark satire on stage, her voice both firm and trembling, both funny and frightening - an intense reminder of the war.

3. It's not really a ceasefire when you sketch it out with your own allies and shake hands on it only with them, after killing over 1300 people, including over 400 children. It's more like an attempt at a sandwich break, or rather a quick lunch with Obama. We are not getting that either

4. Eran Hadas is a genius and several of my other friends are too. I first encountered the new poetry scene in Sde Boker 3 years ago, I was a journalist with Haaretz, the correspondent on pets and gardening. I got special permission to replace the literary correspondent for two weeks "but only in case of emergency", which meant that I could only write about literature if someone died. For two weeks I prayed for the demise of Israel's finest authors and poets. When only some Slovenian author ended up kicking the bucket, I declared to my editor that some random poetry festival in the south was an emergency and headed there. The people I met there are today members of my closest community. Hanging out with the rascals, who shunned the formal panels, who "blitzed" the dining room of the boarding school, bringing slightly insane poetry and music to the unexpecting teenagers, proved wise. From a three year perspective I see the special fire of the new generation growing higher. The use of humor and rhythm intensified, the political subtexts became more focused. I am proud to be a part of what is happening in Hebrew poetry today, I'm proud that we're sexy, I'm proud that we're creative, I'm proud that we take a tough stand.

5. It's not really a ceasefire. Don't read the media, read poetry. That's where it's at. I'll conclude with a bit of Hanoch Levine, provided here for everyone's clarity.

When we take a walk, we are three,
You, me and the next war.
When we go to sleep, we are three,
You, me and the next war.

When we smile at a moment of love
The next war smiles with us.
When we wait at the maternity ward,
The next war waits with us.

When they knock on the door, we are three,
You, me and the next war.
and when all this is over, we still are three,
You, the next war and the photograph.


Eran said...

Thanks, but I cannot even think of daring to compare myself to a guy who knows by heart the bible, history of Finland, so many songs and some insurance procedures I'm not aware of. That is, Yuval Ben-Ami is an omnipotent genius.

Yuval said...

Omnipotent? I just burned a pot of oat meal.

Eran said...

Great minds ruin food alike...

hummusmonster said...

I stopped by looking for Hanoch Levin. Thanks for hte real post.

You avoided the tougher translation of
שתביא מנוחה נכונה
but you already made more progress than I have...

It's not a cease fire, and it wasn't a war. Both had one side only. It was much worse.