- Tell us a bit about yourself – something that we will not find in the official author’s bio?
During the Covid-19 lockdown I was invited by my French book publisher to make a poetry presentation with a Palestinian poet that lives in Tulkarm via Zoom. From this moment on, we began a poetry dialogue between us, a critical mass of poems, prepared previously for another collection of my poetry book. There was an idea to create a common book of poetic dialogue in France, because of the initiative of our mutual publisher in France. It is not, by all means, a political book. It doesn’t suggest any solution to the long and bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it is a real dialogue with open hearts and all the pain it involves. It is a very human book that emphasizes the common and not what divides the two banks of the Jordan river. It was an experience of trying to unblock the blockage. We are two poets trying to make a change in the reality we live in.
- Do you remember what was your first poem about and when did you write it?
It wasn’t my first poem since I began writing poems at the age of thirteen. But the poem “Paint Me Ablaze” was immediately translated into ten languages became the most identified with me. When walking in the street following the publication of the book, passersby were recognizing me and commenting as such: paint ME ablaze! That poem is an erotic love poem, a feminine explosion, at the same time it represents the burning era we live within.
- What is the title of your latest book and what inspired it?
The title is “PAPA”. This poetry book was written after my papa passed away. It is a kind of Kaddish, an ancient Jewish religious text in Aramaic used during the burial ritual in the Jewish tradition. Only men can read it in Orthodox Judaism. As a woman living in Israel, I could not read that last prayer to my papa. I felt that I was silenced, my voice was taken away. I wanted to scream my loss. Within two months I wrote my own Kaddish to my papa. I called it “Elegy” that a musical term for a eulogy.
- Prof. Gabriel Moked, the Israeli editor and critic, defines you as an erotico-urban poet, why?
Gabriel Moked edited two of my poetry books FRONTWOMAN and TRACTATE OF FACES. This definition was included in his important book ‘In Real Time’. I suppose he was relating to the bursting out, exposed, stormy erotic side of my poetry when the urban background served as a platform of action. It seems that he also referred to the genre of Poetry-Video-Art I created on the public space, where my feminine and poetic physicality got a kicking manifestation.
- What is the status of the city in your poetics, and is it always Tel Aviv?
It is definitely Tel Aviv, but it may also be New York, Paris, Rome, Madrid or any other city across the globe. I visited many cities in the world and each city unveiled to me its inner soul and engaged me in different ways. In my poetry, a city is much more than a Geographic place. A city is a lifestyle, a dialogue with voices, languages, smells, colors, patterns, and movements. It’s an exposition of choices and viewpoints. A metropolis is a human space where I meet different characters, develop anonymity, get lost, rub shoulders with ideas and absorb inspiration. Tel Aviv, for example, is a city that never sleeps. It’s there for me 24/7. It always invites me to new experiences and happenings, real or imaginary occurrences, while enriching my poetry. I love Tel Aviv. I live in Tel Aviv and hole my book THE MAD HOUSE created as a dialogue with this city.
- How long did it take you to write a poetry book?
It depends on the book. The last book “PAPA” was completed within two months after his passing. The previous book “THE MAD HOUSE” was written over two years. My next book to be published was written during the Covid-19 period. Parallelly, I am writing a book for the past seven years and I cannot see its end! It was inspired by the family historical core following years of research in archives, interviews, reviewing documents and historical background of that period. And I can tell you, I am going deeper and deeper into darker labyrinths. I am requested to complete pieces of narratives from my imagination according to the Gestalt method. Another book still in process includes poems written over the last few years in different locations of the world.
- Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My basic habit in writing is to be with an open heart, a direct stare, and a waterfall of imagination. I am a poet 24/7. I am capable of writing poems anytime anywhere. The availability requested of me is emotional and intellectual and not by time extent. The setting is a state of mind. Poetry is a genre that does not request planning of location and time. In essence. Words haunt me. I just need to linger and weave the magic.
- Is poetry the only form of artistic expression that you utilize, or is there more to your creativity than just poetry?
Poetry is the only genre I write. Poetry pulled me in jealously back to its heart whenever I had attempts to flirt with other forms of writing.
I am lucky. More often I feel that poetry chose me more than I chose it.
Following my poetry, I created a Poetry Video Art with different videoart artists. Actually, it is a filmed presentation of my poetry.
- Authors that have influenced your writings?
Since I came from the world of literature, comparative literature, I have been exposed to a wide variety of world literature of poets like Homer, Dante, Mayakovski Brecht, Alexander Block, Anna Ahmatova, Ahmadolina, Yates, Poe, Valerie, Rambo, Verlaine, Baudelaire, Bukowski, Block and others that mingle inside me me with Anne Sexton, Mary Oliver, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelo, Pat Parker, Sharon Olds, Louise Glück, Jim Morisson, Allen Ginsberg, and Israeli poets as David Avidan, Jonah Wallach, Yehuda Amichai and others. But my inspiration comes not only from poetry but from visual art, architecture and music. Artists like Alexander Calder, Giacometti, Rothko, Kandinsky, Malevich etc. Of course, philosophers throughout history conducted a constant dialogue with poetry.
- What are you working on right now? Anything new cooking in the wordsmith’s kitchen?
Except the book already in editing process, I am writing simultaneously three books. They are written on and off while the poems are filled in into separate folders. One of the books, I can certainly say is a lifetime project, which rocked my world. I am surprised to the extent in which this book was streamed to me through a magic wand. I feel a transcendental connection from a parallel world. It scares me and excites me at the same time. It is going to be a family case that took place during the Stalin era.
- Did you ever think about the profile of your readers? What do you think – who reads and who should read your books?
Well, poetry stands by itself. It is 24K gold. Actually, even if no one reads it, nothing will change its character. Readers are just an extra bonus. But I will be very out of touch if I say that after the writing process, that is the most powerful experience I felt, without care whether anybody will read it or not. Poetry like all fields of art is a communication act.
I love to flirt with my readers while I manage a serious and ironic dialogue with them through my poetry and my readings onstage.
Following six poetry books published in Israel and another twenty-two books abroad, I can certainly say that the variation of my readers is astonishing.
I know that my readers can experience life through words and get excited from a surprising, kicking and daring poetry. My motto is “the whole poetry is rebellion”. You can accept it or oppose it. But you cannot stand indifferent to this type of poetry. My poetry is taught in high schools and universities therefore the young audience reads it. However, my last poetry book PAPA, attracted new readers. This is another age group that was exposed to death of somebody close and capable to comprise loss. Anyway, my readers are an audience that evaluates interweaving different language layers.
Since we live in the 21st century the answers my readers are searching for are issues found in my poetry – an age that offers us ecological challenges, many existential questions, more complicated than ever, because of the technological project and Genetic Engineering, wonder about the human condition and its nature in general, while on the stage there are dancing robots, complicated relations and alternative families, coping with questions about our identity, foreignness, refugees, immigration etc.
- What are the materials and components folded within your poems?
Poetry and world walk engagé to each other. I cannot imagine how we can ever separate them. From that point on my poetry materials are pumped up from life itself, even if they transform poetically. Getting sublime. Upgraded to an imaginary level. My dreams and my ambitions are part of my life, thus part of my poetry. My writings are an act of contact with people worldwide. I yearn for communication. I want people to listen to me, to look at me, to refer to my physical and emotional existence. To get a feel of me through my poetry. There is something in poetry that is absent of other writing genres.
It tickles in all capillaries of the soul. Shakes me up, harasses me and throws me up high. It expands my heart and shrinks it at the same time. The physical reaction poetry causes is a product of the human experience it lifts. There is human power in poetry. It demands to itself space, consideration, and the will to change something in it. In that matter it is political. There is a scream and rage, a burst of horrors. Removing the mask, unveiling the curtain. In a musical way it orchestrates the human sorrow, the disappointment and loss. It opens the mind to million other minds. Realities we live in does not pass over my poetry. There is a responsibility taken of what is happening to us on earth.
In my Poetry Video Art project, I read poetry in public spaces and that’s a political act par-excellence by the meaning of creating change within the space. I am changing the meaning of my environment by the physical and verbal movement in the public space.
- Do you have any advice for new poets?
Be yourselves! That’s the main thing I can tell everybody especially young poets. All the rest is occupied. Be powerful. Be yourself the most you can be, even if you are weird, strange, avant-garde, unaccepted, stay yourself. Only when you are connected with your inner self you can carve authentic poetry that can move others. Don’t imitate anybody but have open channels to capture the Zeitgeist of the era you live in.
Since language is our tool, let’s occupy it! Deeper and wider. Make it yours. In my poem “A Young Poet” from my book “THE MAD HOUSE” there’s a phrase “And write the silence”
Writing silence is a big deal that demands deepness, wideness and courage. Beethoven has a lot of silence in his sonatas. The length of these silences when they come precise, clean and true, create great poetry.
- What is the best advice about writing have you ever heard?
Somerset Maugham said:
“There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
The number of tips as the number of writers in the world. Each period and style invite advice they believe in. The most correct advice I heard during my writing years was: Go your own way. It allowed me to develop an independent imagination, an independent language and to bring my most personal content into poetry with boldness and courage.
- How many books you read annually and what are you reading now? What is your favorite literary genre?
The Corona period opened up the world of podcasts to me. I close my eyes and listen to short stories, interesting essays on poetry and the state of the climate, the state of humanity, philosophy and science. I’m currently reading The “IMMIGRANTS” by W.G. Zebald. He writes about the Holocaust indirectly. It is a form of writing that he adopted because he did not believe that anyone who did not experience the horror could appropriate the pain for himself. He said that it was difficult to write about the Holocaust being aesthetically and morally correct, that the subject was too threatening.
That statement is based on the famous saying of Adorno from 1949 “to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric”.
The human axis went wrong, and art, including poetry, had to give representations.
Poetry, had to give new representations to this awful disruptive disruption. So how to write the horrors of the great human atrocities in a new way. Convincing. Zebald tries the representation of touch-not-touch horror and challenges the last human remnant, memory.
Memory is a subject that I deal with quite a bit in my poems. In my last book PAPA, for example, there is a poem called Memory Is You where I’m juggling the deceptive essence of memory.
- What do you deem the most relevant about your writing? What is the most important to be remembered by readers?
When you go into a restaurant and hang up your coat on the hook, you allow others to see through it your identity. The shade, size, material, brand and the cut. It betrays your choices, your character. The same with the poetry I write. I want my readers to identify my heartbeats through my poetic choices: the verbal imagination, structures, silences, revelations and concealments. It is important to me to be known that not once I put my life in danger because of poetry, but the one who really saved me from life is poetry.
I married to poetry.
- What is your opinion about the publishing industry today and about the ways authors can best fit into the new trends?
We see that the poetry economy changes shapes and forms. The needs changed and are still changing, and accordingly the means of advertisement and marketing. It is a wonderful thing that is happening. When the first print machine invented, people complained. I consider myself fortunate that I am still publishing actual books, we can touch and smell the paper. But I know, a day will come there will be no more back cover books.
All contents will be online or as audio clips on the network. I have sentiments to my books, therefore I wish they could be sent to the moon. Who knows how long earth will survive?