Frayed Light (Wesleyan Poetry) (Paperback)

By Yonatan Berg, Joanna Chen (Translator)

Wesleyan University Press, 9780819579133, 88pp.

Publication Date: August 1, 2019

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (8/1/2019)

List Price: 14.95*
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Description

First English language poetry collection from an acclaimed Hebrew poet

This poetic collection is an honest and deeply reflective look at life overshadowed by disputed settlements and political upheaval in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yonatan Berg is a poet from Israel and the youngest person ever awarded the Yehuda Amichai Poetry Prize. This collection brings together the best poems from his three published collections in Hebrew, deftly translated by Joanna Chen. His poetry recounts his upbringing on an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and service in a combat unit of the Israeli military, which left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. He grapples with questions of religion and tradition, nationalism, war, and familial relationships. The book also explores his conceptual relationship with Biblical, historical, and literary characters from the history of civilization, set against a backdrop of the Mediterranean landscape. Berg shares an insider's perspective on life in Israel today.

Sample Poem:

Unity

We travel the silk road of evening,
tobacco and desire flickering
between our hands. We are warm travelers,
our eyes unfurled, traveling in psalms,
in Rumi, in the sayings of the man from the Galilee.
We break bread under the pistachio tree,
under the Banyan tree, under the dark
of the Samaritan fig tree. Songs of offering rise up
in our throats, wandering along the wall of night. We travel
in the openness of warm eternity. Heavenly voices
announce a coupling as the quiet horse gallops
heavenward. We travel with the rest of the world,
with its atrocities, its piles of ruins, scars of barbed wire,
traveling with ardor in our loins, with the cry of birth.
We sit crossed-legged within the rocking
of flesh, the quiet of the Brahmin, the bells
of Mass, the tumult of Torah. We travel
through eagles of death, dilution of earth in rivers,
in eulogies, through marble, we travel through the silk
of evening, our hearts like bonfires in the dark.


About the Author

YONATAN BERG is a leading Hebrew poet. He is the youngest recipient of the Yehuda Amichai Prize and a number of other national awards. He has published three books of poetry, one memoir and two novels. His latest book, Far from the Linden Trees, was published in 2018 and received excellent reviews. Yonatan Berg is a bibliotherapist and teaches creative writing in Jerusalem. JOANNA CHEN is a literary translator and essayist. Her work has been published in Guernica, Poet Lore, Narratively, and Newsweek, among others. Her translations have been published in Poetry International, Consequence, Mantis, and many more. Her translations also include Agi Mishol's Less Like a Dove. She is currently translating Meir Shalev's My Wild Garden. She writes a column for The Los Angeles Review of Books.