A Woman of Valor
“35 soldiers on active duty and several civilian employees at an
air base have been conducting sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl
over the past year. Many of the suspects claimed during questioning that
the girl had told them she was of enlistment age.”
Hannan Greenberg, Ynet News
places your head on his naked lap
and one might think
you weren’t being forced but rather
thanked and your head stroked.
The second slides slowly down your back
the feelings are new
and you can still concentrate.
The third inserts three fingers, says
“Don’t move.” You don’t,
the map of greater Israel
in your eyes.
The fourth moves aside a pile of reports
on air accidents in the south
and takes you from behind.
A great love you think
a great love scorches me
and won’t let up.
You raise and lower your arms
your body stretches to the edge of the sky
your hands cupped for the rain.
The unstoppable fifth and sixth
course into you.
The arrogant salt of the earth, avoiding eyes,
those waiting their turn. Soon your body may look beautiful
even to you.
put your hands on your head
Herzl says to me
count to three
lick your lips
Herzl says to me
get down on your knees
Herzl says inhale the scent
of a man who is good
for your health
Herzl says to me come
let’s strip now
Herzl says, I personally envisioned
you spreading your legs
and turning over.
Herzl, I say
I’m opening wide I’m expanding
I’m looking at my Garden of Eden
which you never knew
because the truth is mine only
when I alone
hold an apple in my mouth.
Anat Zecharia’s work is influenced by Israeli feminist poets like Yona Wallach and Agi Mishoi. Her poems cover sexuality and desire in a direct and uncensored language. Sexuality is often paired with power, but also with a wish to dedemonize it ( Let Me Be). You can often find a certain ambiguity in her poems. Herzl Saysfor example evokes both the harmless children’s game „Simon says...“ and the image of a dominating male giving orders. The fact that Herzl also could be interpreted as Theodor Herzl, the „father“ of Zionism, gives the poem a political perspective, which is another frequent characteristic in Anat Zechariat’s poems. There is often a political aspect to violence, like when a young girl, being raped by 35 soldiers, has „the map of greater Israel in [her] eyes ( A Woman Of Valor).The articulate physicalness and proud desire contrast with an awareness of fragility and danger that is hovering over the subjects of Zecharia’s poems. This reflects the political reality of Israel where “one small child with a slingshot is enough to set fire to all“ ( West Bank).
'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.
Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.
At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.