Frayed Light

(Author) (Translator)
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Wesleyan University Press
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6.1 X 7.9 X 0.3 inches | 0.35 pounds

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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.
"Yonatan Berg's poetry is fervent and relentless in its language, each poem moving forward in a series of proclamations that are as absolute as they are heartbreaking, 'We told ourselves it would pass./We put everything in place, near/the couches, the armchairs. On the balcony, flowers/spiraled towards the sun.' In the midst of this book's almost unbearable traumas, its attention to that which is rapturous and romantic about the natural world asks us to rethink how our wars kill us and our ability to see the beauty of the planet on which we live. These are necessary translations. And these translations by Joanna Chen bring to light the fact that poetry travels beyond language. This is a beautiful book."--Jericho Brown, author of The New Testament, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Berg's poems aren't the conventional kind. I absorb them slowly and with great excitement, till I'm left with tenderness."--Amos Oz, author of A Tale of Love and Darkness, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Berg is the only poet I know of today whose personal experience and our political experience, the Israeli crisis of faith, are the same. This is what makes his poems so powerful."--Nurit Zarchi, author of Otobiographya Shell Delet, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Here is a book that shows us the urgency and fear of a life in a time of crisis, an overview of life in a settlement, on the occupied territory from the perspective of a person born in a settlement. Here is a voice that speaks honestly about guilt, a voice that admits 'I am a person with no homeland.' It is a powerful, sobering book. How does Yonatan Berg do this? What what means? He combines the nuance of attentiveness with the clarity of perspective. He combines a spell of an incantatory chant and the intimacy of a whisper. His is a voice from a place that overflows with crimes of history--but longs for justice. His is a voice that shows us perversities of silence: 'We do not look at each other, / not even when the coffin is hoisted / onto our shoulders, heavy / with youth and laughter.' It would be a wise thing for us to listen to this voice."--Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic

"Yonatan Berg's poetry moves between roughness and tenderness. His military poems written with boyish insouciance, mingling horror with grief. A serene moment swiftly becomes an elegy. Bitter ambivalence makes the song of this poet. I like this song."--Adam Zagajewski, author of Asymmetry, reviewing a previous edition or volume