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Reviewed by:
  • With an Iron Pen: Twenty Years of Hebrew Protest Poetry
  • tova stabin
With an Iron Pen: Twenty Years of Hebrew Protest Poetry, Edited by Tal Nissan, Translations by Rachel Tzvia Back. (SUNY Press, 2009).

As explained in the introduction of With An Iron Pen, politics and literature are particularly intertwined in Israeli culture—literature is part of building a national identity and agenda and "…voices that dared to consider the plight of the oppressed …were marginalized and effectively silenced…Within this context, the publication of this anthology was a groundbreaking event." The eighty-eight poems that appear here are political protest poetry that, ironically, also address national identity. These poems collectively form, through very differing and unique literary styles and analysis, a part of the Israeli identity of the last two decades that opposes the occupation. Here, we find, not surprisingly, fury, heartache, frustration, fatigue, shame and sorrow, such as in Tuvia Ruebners' "Oh, let the darkness cover our eyes!"— "Where can we flee from the sound of our hearts/proclaiming; It was our hands that spilt our blood!/To where can we still run from ourselves?" Yet also we find righteous anger, protest, a refusal to be silent, complacent or overwhelmed, and even healing and hope, as in Ahser Reich's "Under the Olive Tree"—"…we raised dust in our bodies—/but what connects us here/may yet be stitched back together and heal." [End Page 156]



Additional Information

Print ISSN
p. 156
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2012
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