Marc Chagall

Voices From Israel

Voices From Israel: Israeli Poets Speak
to America of Life and Home, Anguish and Sorrow, Love, Joy and Hope
edited by Roger Wunderlich; cover by Marc Chagall.

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Each poem in this
anthology tells a story, expresses an emotion or reality that rings true
and honest. The poets, English speakers, who live throughout Israel, all
have something important to say. While the anthology was published in 1998,
it could have been written in 2001. The events and concerns are current.

While many reflect upon the period before autumn
2000, as one of approaching a true and lasting peace, some of the fears,
private anguish and harsh realities of life in Israel rang as true then as
they do today. The poets manage to express concerns that are on the minds
of so many Israelis.

The poets live throughout
the country in such places as Jerusalem, Kibbutz Ein Hashofet, Haifa, Kiryat
Ata, Ramat Aviv and Be’er Sheva.

The poem, Hagoshrim
by Gustawa Stendig-Lindberg, speaks of the serene sensation one feels when
in the north.
In contrast, Niva Kramek’s poem, My Masochism talks
about the constant battle to “stick-it-out” and “be strong”. Finally Elaine
Kallet deals with a fear and reality at the forefront of so many Israeli
minds: the daily luck or fate, whose number will be up in the daily terror

The anthology tells
the story of how Israelis, both native and those who made aliyah to Israel,
cope with the realities of a country whose people are always passionate
and where tempers run high. The contrast between the tremendous beauty of
daily life to the horrors of war are themes that run throughout the collection
of poems.

Day-to-day questions
about the love of those known and unknown to us echo the questions the poets
bring to life and help to voice the inner conflicts so many people experience.

The anthology is
poetry. It is recommended reading for those seeking insight into what many
Israelis are thinking and feeling today.

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