Started with my own rabbi's blog, Shalom Rav, which has been tracking his trip to Iran. Sounds like quite a journey for him, and one that makes me proud (again) to be at JRC. When I picked up my daughter last night, he motioned me over, wanted to talk Hafiz & Persian Poetry. Can we swap in some of that for the Marge Piercy & Rami Shapiro in the next edition of Kol Haneshama? No offense to MP and RS, but Hafiz is world-class work.
Ah, but what translation? That's the kicker, in't? Take a look here--the "Songs of Hafiz" website --and tell me if any of them strike you as liturgy-ready. My hunch is no, alas, so we're back to square one.
I spent a fair while over at the the Velveteen Rabbi, whose detailed account of the Rabbis for Human Rights conference was both fascinating and encouraging. (Note to self: do NOT read comments on Ha'aretz articles. They depress you, cut you off at the pass. The comments, not the articles. When tempted, read VR instead.)
Josh Corey, a youngish Jewish American poet (i.e., younger than I am) is in a slough of sorts, at least according to his blog:
Caught in the feedback loop of silence. Wanting to write—there's no more futile emotion. You have to want to write something. And I am writing, here and there, but it never seems like the thing. But wanting it to be "the thing" is what defeats me.He goes on to quote an "astonishing passage" from Louis Hyde's introduction to a collection of essays by Thoreau:
A Thoreauvian prophetic essay leads us on a redemptive journey... but there is a redemption of the valley as well, one that comes from abandoning all hope of getting it together. If you need to come apart, you do not need to listen to the prophetic voice. Stop trying to be a hero. There is a time to fall to pieces, to identify with the confusion of your life as it is, confined absolutely to the present November sunset and your present apartment. (Emphasis added.)And responds:
This is exactly what I needed to hear, exactly the cure for the itch of objectless ambition, or more simply the desire to "get it together": to seamlessly synthesize a life that, in its multiple spheres—writing, new fatherhood, marriage, teaching—resists all my efforts to be glued into a whole. If I can take Hyde's advice and be an upended Thoreau, who goes not into the woods but deeper into his own messy life, maybe I'll find my way back to the writing that matters to me, without letting everything else go any more to pieces than it already is.Good luck & God speed, Josh, as they say. If you read this, and have some ideas, send them his way.
More catching up tomorrow, I hope, and slowly--ever so slowly--I'll make my way back to poetry per se. (If you're reading, say hello! I could use the Shamu'ing.)
Eine kleine exit music, please!