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Past Events

Past EventsTuesday, March 4

Making Poetical Statements: Meir Wieseltier

Meir Wieseltier
Risa Domb

This session marked the first appearance in Britain by Meir Wieseltier, widely considered to be one of Israel's finest living poets. His zestful, earthy poetry has been shaped to a large extent by the character of the sprawling, Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv where he has lived since 1955. An avowed agnostic, he draws heavily on biblical and rabbinical sources which he refashions in his highly idiosyncratic and often ironic poetry. In this session, he read from and discussed a number of his poems.

Meir Wieseltier was born in 1941 in Moscow and came to Israel as a child after spending two years in Europe. In 2000 Wieseltier received the Israel Prize for Literature, the most prestigious award in the country. He is an associate professor at the University of Haifa, and has translated English, French and Russian poetry into Hebrew, as well as several Shakespeare plays, and novels by Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens and E.M. Forster. His own work has been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Japanese and many other languages.

And the world is turned into an arena
And you are at its navel
Facing yourself
A stubborn gladiator
And you seek
Only the heart
You know that the rest hurts as well
But you stick to your quest
Only the heart (raq et ha-lev)
And the audience is a fresco of multiple colours
And the heavens are a fresco of one colour
And the blood too is only a fresco of crimson
And God sees the I (velohim roeh et ha-ani)

Qitsur Shenot ha-Shishim p. 184

Experience the event as it happened:

Transcripts

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