100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

December 03, 1984 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-12-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday, December 7, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

A poster as a gift.

Iry Ashin Jeweler

BOOKS

BACK IN BUSINESS!!!

Amichai stories reminiscent
of classic e.e. cummings novel

Fine Jewelry & Watch Repair

26001 Coolidge

r

545-5114

Oak Park

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10-5)
Closed Saturday

BY JOSEPH COHEN
Special to The Jewish News

Al's Foreign Car Service

Specialist in

• Toyota • Volkswagen • Datsun
• Audi Fox • Honda Cars

EDITH KAUFMAN

CALL: 548-3926, 548-4160

1018 W. 9 Mile Rd.

304 Fisher Building, Detroit
Mon.-Fri. 10-6 • Sat. 11-5 875-5211

FERNDALE, Between Livernois
& Pinecrest
MICH.

VALIDATED PARKING NEW CENTER LOT #4

On Lothrop,
between Woodward & Second

1111• ■■ •4

MIDWEST COOKING SCHOOLS

3204 Rochester Road • Royal Oak

(Just South of 13 Mile)

= 585-9550 go

Mon.-Th. 10-5; Fri. 10 - 7; Sat. 11 - 5

Sign Up Now For

WINTER COOKING CLASSES

(Microwave & Conventional Classes Available)

"MY SPECIAL SALE FOR A SPECIAL PERSON"

-Pat Hutt

20% OFF STOREWIDE

am I.

I. =I I.

mom

Advertised

e

ms

THE
CALPHALON
COLLECTION

I

For A Lifetime of Creative
Expressive Cookery

-20% OFF

WITH COUPON EXP. 12-21-84

=MIMEO -----------J

SAVE.$5

Anchor
Hocking

I
I
I

I

MICRO TURNTABLE

Dishwasher safe. Rotates
food for even cooking.

PA600/112. Reg. $29.88.

$ 248 8

Terra Cotta

CLAY
I BAKER

I 3 QT. Capacity for
I Micro Wave or

I Conventional Ovens.
. Reg. $21.98

WITH COUPON EXP. 12-21-84
WITH . COUPON EXP. 12-21-84
I
I
rommillummimmomme irmammmoluml
.
Anchor Ovenware
1
Reg. $4.95
I
II
LITTON
1
I
1
) MEAT BROWNER
NOW

N:- SAVE $10.38 1

1

1
1

1

$388

1

1

1 WITH COUPON EXP. 12-21-84

MICROWAVE

I

$40 0

WITH COUPON EXP. 12-21-84

":0

• • .0 ♦ 0 s

# 4

VI •

I

I
I
I
I
I

MUGS

I More than Mugs, Small
1 Cooking Utensils.
I Reg.
I $6.98

I
1

t. 4 # K t 0. A. -4;

$1 195 °

Ideal for browning,
grilling or searing
meat. No. A1024.
Reg. $29.88.

WITH COUPON EXP. 12-21-84

LITTON
MICROWAVE COOKING-
HOLIDAY & PARTIES
COOKBOOK

Turn even impromptu get-togethers
into festive parties with these
ideas and your microwave oven.
Hundreds of easy recipes with
step-by-step details and full
color photographs to guide you.
Hardbound Cover: 8 1/2x11".

$888

I
WITH COUPON EXP. 12-21-84
=Ls ow ...e mom= im

4c.t...1, -1 c•At; 4

.• 4

ti • ii. 4 1► it'

NI Nom ail a. is

./ VA' L ► 4Ili I' 47 71/1: re.

1

1

1
1

In 1922, the American poet e.e.
cummings startled the literary
world with the publication of an
autobiographical novel entitled
The Enormous Room. Maverick
in its form, the book vividly de-
scribed the three months cum-
mings spent in La Ferte-Mace, a
notorious French detention camp,
following his imprisonment dur-
ing the First World War.
The significance of cummings'
novel was and is to be found in its
evocation of the human spirit, its
commitment not merely to survi-
val in the face of destruction but to
love and tenderness and human
connectedness. Thumbing his
nose at death, cummings re-
sponded to the dehumanization of
war and concentration camp de-
tention not with a cowering
whimper but with a full-throated,
defiant laugh.
Not the least of the virtues of
his book is its graphic description.
The fine eye of the poet is
everywhere at work here, seeing
not merely the surfaces of things
but probing into their subterra-
nean depths as well. The micro-
cosm of the poet's prison cell be-
comes the macrocosm of the
enormouse room, that is to say, of
the whole world.
In famed Israeli poet Yehuda
Amichai's newly published collec-
tion of short stories, The World Is
a Room (Jewish Publication
Sociey), much of the same startl-
ing brilliance occurs, only here
the setting is not La Ferte-Mace
but Israel in its first years of inde-
pendence. Israel (with the excep-
tion of one story that is set in New
York) is Amichai's microcosmic
metaphor for the world at large, a
room that lacks positive meaning
until it is filled with love. With
love comes light and sound,
neighbors, children, normalcy.
The search of the two poets is
therefore the same: it is always for
love and tenderness and human
connectedness in a setting of un-
easy peace and the anticipated
violence of war. In the absence of
love, the sense of loss is pervasive.
The figurative language em-
ployed by both cummings and
Amichai is resplendent, opening
up whole universes of nuance,
feeling and understanding.
To be sure, there are some fun-
damental differences between the
two poets. As distinguished as
cummings was by the time he died
in 1962, Amichai's poetic talent is
greater. His metaphors and
similes in these stories leap-frog
one over the other, accelerating
and accumulating with an as-
tonishing barrage of fresh, fertile
and original images that go far
beyond the limits cummings set
for himself. Where cummings in-
variably turned to irony, ribald
jests and defiance, Amichai relies
upon compassion, empathy and
resignation, accepting what
cummings sought always to
evade, the fact that one could face
down death only so many times.

Cummings' romantic indi-
vidualism gives way in Amichai
to apprehension, wariness and a
determination to reconfirm the
fact of one's existence by repeated
acts of love, sensual and compas-
sionate.
Amichai's ten short stories,
masterfully translated, function
differently from those of most con-
temporary writers. Short fiction
depends for its effect upon a criti-
cal conflict between two clearly
defined opposing forces. That is
hardly the case here. In the stories
which use the Israeli-Arab con-
flict as background, the pro-
tagonists' enemies are less likely
to be Arabs than they are to be

The World Is a
Room" by Yehuda
Amichai, Jewish
Publication Society.

immobility, detachment, con-
straint, separation, transforma-
tion, the erosion of time; and the
failure of two people — lovers,
spouses, neighbors or friends -- to
communicate because of the dis-
parity in their subjective in-
terpretations of the same
realities.
Soldiers mobilize and wait, lov-
ers pledge fidelity and either sleep
with or marry others, a bar
mitzvah boy is given compasses
which will guide him on his newly
initiated journey into the Dias-
pora of time and space, two lovers
begin their affair at its end and
work their way backwards to its
beginning, a son recognizes the
accumulated deaths of his father,
culminating in the final one
which separates them forever.
In several of the stories,
Amichai pays his respects to his
muse, an earth-mother figure who
turns up in a dozen different
women all of whom aggressively
bestow and withdraw their sexual
favors and maternal benevolence
in a confusion of hope and despair
that constitutes Amichai's vision
of human relationships in our
time. -
The spirit of Einstein is wonder-
fully invoked in these stories: ev-
erything is relative, nothing is
certain, all things are possible,
casuality breaks down. Separa-
tion is the only certainty. Trans-
formation is the only constant.
The centrality of ordinary conflict
is replaced by the random and
therefore unpredictable move-
ment of people as though they
were particles and waves moving
through the great magnetic field
of the world as a room. The under-
lying logic behind this movement
is all associational.
For writers less imaginative
than Amichai, this technique
poses dangerous risks; in
Amichai's hands the stories slip
and slide, sing and glide from one
scene into the next, leaving us
with a conviction that Amichai's
metaphorical pyrotechnics are as
remarkable in our time as e.e.
cummings' were in his time.

Joseph Cohen is director of the
Jewish Studies program at
Tulane University in New
Orleans:

J

) )

I. 4

/' .0 1 .4.

4, 4''

4...

ti4.41414 t 4%

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan