Select­ed Poet­ry and Drama

Lea Gold­berg; Rachel Tzvia Back, T. Car­mi, trans.
  • Review
By – July 13, 2012
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 .

Joshua Cohen was born in 1980 in Atlantic City. His books include the nov­els Mov­ing KingsBook of Num­bersWitzA Heav­en of Oth­ers, and Caden­za for the Schnei­der­mann Vio­lin Con­cer­to; the short-fic­tion col­lec­tion Four New Mes­sages, and the non­fic­tion col­lec­tion Atten­tion: Dis­patch­es from a Land of Dis­trac­tion. Cohen was award­ed Israel’s 2013 Matanel Prize for Jew­ish Writ­ers, and in 2017 was named one of Granta’s Best Young Amer­i­can Nov­el­ists. He lives in New York City.

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