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September 23, 1988 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-23

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

I LIFE IN ISRAEL I

JOD HUNTING?

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T

Poets Have Roots In
Small-Town America

Ruth Schwartz, A.S.I.D., I.F.D.A.

NECHEMIA MEYERS

Special to The Jewish News

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small kibbutz in
the northern Negev,
Urim, has produced
two of Israel's most in-
teresting new Hebrew poets.
Both are products of small-
town America, where Jews —
let alone Hebrew culture —
are scarcely to be found.
Joseph Ezekiel is the better
known Urim poet, having just
published his second collec-
tion of poems, "Kallat Bor
Hasid" (The Bride of the
Lime Pit), six years after hav-
ing brought out the critically
acclaimed "Nahar" (River).
Both cover a wide range of
subjects, from reminiscences
of his parents to descriptions
of the fields, flora and fauna
of his Negev home, which
bears considerable resem-
blance to the Texas prairies
where he spent the first 14
years of his life.
Few of his coreligionists can
claim to be as American as
Joe, the descendant of
Sephardic Jews who settled in
Charleston, S.C., two genera-
tions before the Declaration of
Independence was pro-
mulgated. But today he is a
proud Israeli, as is reflected
both in his poetry and in his
devotion to archaeology, that
most Israeli of passions.
Lami Halperin, the other
Urim poet, grew up in Colum-
bia, Mo., where her father
was a professor of Semitic

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Mysticism Lying
Low in Echoes,
in Light,
in Colors

By Lami Halperin

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• 38

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1988

Double light through both
glass doors
Scales blanket-mountains
in bed.
The antique sun, strangely
Still loyal with its daylight
Climbing towards the noon
acme,
Retreating later, to a bath
in the sea.
It is hard to read portents
in the morning
See how the table is
engulfed in its clarity
Straw flowers live in their
translucent vase
And the columned palm
A galaxy of glowing
banners.
But people, as usual,
Are still sheathed in their
dreams
Are singing in phatic
emphases

languages and the history of
the Bible at the University of
Missouri. Her father knew
Hebrew — and 19 other
languages — and was anxious
to teach it to her, but Lami
resisted, claiming she had
"no talent for languages."
Perhaps, still more signifi-
cant, she saw little point in
learning it when she and
another girl were the only
Jews in her high school class.
Lami Halperin's acquain-
tance with the language of
the Bible was still practical-
ly nonexistent when she
came on aliyah 30 years ago.
She reached the conclusion
that she would never become
a full-fledged Israeli without
delving into Hebrew and
Hebrew literature. And when
she began studying both, it
turned out that she did have
a gift for languages. It was so
pronounced that soon
Halperin was not only
reading Hebrew poetry, but
also writing it.
It was several years after
her first Hebrew poems ap-
peared in local newspapers
and magazines that Halperin
began to try her hand at
English poetry as well. The
result is a recently published
bilingual book, Penumbra,
with 52 poems in English and
32 in Hebrew.

Halperin participates in
both Hebrew and English
poetry workshops. There is no
way of knowing, she says, how
many English-language poets

Testing moments for
reality
Jelled selves, so rarely
seen
Out of their jars.

I Comb
from his Hair
Thorns of Light

By Joseph Ezekeil

Clouds wind-striped,
The honeysuckle clutches
at the screen.
Rain falls in my breast;
Ibnight rain will fall in
Jerusalem

Between Arad and
Nitzana, drums;
Sheep manure flows from
paths
lb gullies, to us and to the
sea.
My sleep, the slumber of
the alcohol-bathed;
The boy's head is charged
with electricity and with
my fingers
I comb thorns of light from
his hair.

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