Joshua Cohen is the author of Witz, The Heaven of Others, The Quorum, Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto, among other titles.
Selected Poetry and Drama
Prussia-born and Lithuania-raised Lea Goldberg emigrated to Palestine in 1935, exchanged Russian for Hebrew, and began a career as one of Israel’s most beloved poets. An Israeli Emily Dickinson with a strong mystical streak that had to have been derived from the study of Talmud and Kabbalah, Goldberg’s theme was the intimate, the individual in an age of de-individuation; her poetry reflects daily life in the mirror of the divine: I am the one on high,/I am the many in the deep./My image, doubled image,/from the river looks back at me. From her earliest collection On the Flowering (1948) to her astounding, more difficult late work in The Remains of Life (1978), Goldberg’s poetry remained anachronistically traditional in revolutionary times, not in reaction, not out of ignorance, but out of the deepest conviction of the holiness of utterance, and the sublime respect for a language that communicates, that not only brings people together but can also unite past and future, the living and the dead. Still, it is Goldberg’s intermittent doubt that sounds the most powerfully. A young poet suddenly falls silent/for fear of telling the truth./An old poet falls silent for fear/the best in a poem/is its lie .
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