poetry in action features work by poets from around the world, translated into English.
It has three rallying cries:
Poets of the world, unite and take over!
Resist the oppressive constraints of good, publishable poetry established by mainstream literary venues!
Only poetry in translation, all the time!
Coming at you on the 20th of each month.
From Blues for Newborn Babies: Selected Poems
Above and Below
Why are you binding me with a rope, father?
To sacrifice you to fear, my son.
Is fear a god?
An almighty terrifying god.
Why don’t you offer him yourself, father?
He needs warm blood, my son.
And why do I need him, father?
So as not to fear ever again, my son.
But I won’t be flesh and blood ever again.
You will be soul. He in you and you in him.
Sing, my son, and your sweet voice
Will bind together above and below.
And Mount Moriah bowed like a tear
If I do have many in me
I am living the wrong me.
I filled with strangeness when my name walked into the room,
I was in awe when you chose me and then later when
You walked away, although not from the right me
I almost faded into pain,
A she-bear unchanged by deep sleep.
I knew I was wearing the wrong love clothes,
Let’s say that at the core of the tree
There is tree
And at the core of the house
There is house
And a voiceless bird
Is sitting there
Waiting. Who shall give her voice?
Who shall give her a core, an edge?
Whose voice is it that leaks
From the tips of his toes?
Let’s face it
The world is core free,
In the tree there is no tree,
In the house there is no house,
And acorns of tears
Crackle at its feet.
Nurit Zarchi is an Israeli poet and author of books for adults and children. Zarchi has published more than one hundred works including children’s books, poetry, prose, essays and articles. Zarchi has received major Israeli awards, including more recently the 2021 Israel prize in Literature and Poetry, the Bialik Prize and the Ze’ev Prize (four times), and she was twice the winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for her literary work.
Tal Goldfajn is an Assistant Professor in the Spanish and Portuguese program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she coordinates the study area of Translation in the Hispanic and Lusophone World. She holds a PhD in General Linguistics from the University of Oxford. She is the author of, among others, Word Order and Time in Biblical Hebrew Narrative (Oxford University Press), and a co-editor of a special issue on Translation and History in Latin America published by the Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina y el Caribe (Tel Aviv University). Her translations of Nelson Rodrigues and Sergi Belbel have been published )Asia Publishers) and staged in Tel Aviv.
poetry in action is an Action Books blog feature curated and edited by Katherine M. Hedeen (@kmhedeen) with web editing by Paul Cunningham.