Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ronny Someck

Where, I wonder, can I learn more about the Israeli poet Ronny Someck? I know his work only from Ammiel Alcalay's anthology Keys to the Garden: seventeen poems, a handful of which have simmered in me steadily since I first read them a couple of years ago.

Here's one that would make a useful assignment in any Jewish poetry curriculum, given everything you'd learn by looking up its off-hand allusions. (As Hugh Kenner says somewhere, the things you need to look up to understand a poem are generally things worth knowing.) You could even have the students create a hypertext version of the poem, linking words and names and phrases to pictures, historical texts, even mp3s, as you'll see.
In Answer to the Question: When Did Your Peace Begin?

Ben Gurion’s wind teased hair hung
On the wall of the café near the transit camp
And next to it, in a frame just like it,
The doughnut face of Umm Kulthoum.
That was in ’55 or ’56 and I figured if
A man and a woman hung side by side like that
They had to be bride and groom.
(Am I the only one who sees this "couple"--so well matched, so estranged--as one more version of the KBH / Shekhinah pair? I like the poem well enough without that layer of meaning, but love it when I read it through that lens.)

New in my mailbox: Bryce Passage, poems by Daniel Morris (Marsh Hawk Press); and Alternatives to History, by Jay Ladin (Sheep Meadow Press).

On the earbuds: Munir Bashir, Flamenco Roots

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