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Voices Israel Anthology 2022 - Book Review

Poetry from Israel & Abroad, Vol. 48

Published by Voices Israel Group of Poets in English

Soft Cover; 156 pages

Free for Voices members; Others: NIS 50

Reviewed by Morton Leibowitz

When reading poetry, one is waiting for that magic moment when the images depicted by the writer trigger something within the reader. It can be a shared memory, it can be a shared emotion, it can be a shared experience; it is, however, the secret joy, sadness, or remorse shared by poet and reader that makes the encounter poetry.

These are the thoughts provoked by the most recent issue of the annual publication Voices Israel Anthology 2022; Volume 48 in this series published by Voices Israel Group of Poets in Israel. Contrary to the group's name, the collection includes poets from across the English-speaking world. What is shared, and what makes the collection so special, is that the cultural and spiritual essence of the writers and, at least in my case the readers, is shared. I might also venture that in contrast to the poems printed in the Volume competing for the Bar Sagi prize for young poets, most of the poems in the Anthology itself are written by mature poets.

My First Friend by Judith Feinberg is a case in point. The week prior to reading the poem I had dinner with a childhood friend whom I see very infrequently. The lines written in the poem "….though we've grown poles apart on pressure points like politics it matters not……". Ms Feinberg's offered explanation "……my self's prehistory is etched partly on your tablet and yours on mine as our mothers walked and talked, we swayed side by side in our customized amniotic seas….". What an uncanny description of a long-delayed meeting with a childhood friend.

Ricky Rappaport Friesem in her poem Undeliverable shares her angst when the email that she delayed sending to an ill friend is returned and described as Mail Delivery Failure. How painful and frustrating is that!

Joyce Serlin describes the passion associated with a favorite oil painting "Soup Tureen" (by Cezanne) that has been in her homes on three continents over a period of five decades. How can such a poem not trigger a visceral, emotional response? I have a painting like that which has hung in my study in two continents for six decades which I still love. And which my progeny assures me goes into the trash when I'm gone.

So yes, what makes this anthology so special is the shared cultural heritage, shared temporal background and the easy flow of the writing. Highly recommended

Available on an annual basis to all members of Voices Israel. 



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Thursday, 25 April 2024

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