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Hebrew Literature in Translation: Zali Gurevitch

Hebrew Literature in Translation: Zali Gurevitch

Zali Gurevitch: Poetry Between Spoken Word and Written Word

Watch here Prof. Anat Weisman's short introduction to Israeli poet and sociologist Zali Gurevitch's poetry

and here, Zali Gurevitch's own opening remarks

Zali Gurevitch reads some of his poems in Hebrew, and in English translation: watch here.

In the attached file, read some of Gurevitch's poems, translated by Gaby Levin.


from Pshat (2012)

Translated by Gabriel Levin

Quiet reigns after a lesson that went on for years.

Pshat comes late if at all.

There is no pshat.
Forget pshat.

In the beginning there were clothes.

I am growing out-of-date.

Scattered bough.
Branches drumming.

Dust flies from my eyes.

“Youth shaken off like chaff”
(Yehuda Halevi)

The land crumbles.

Litter in the drain seeks a way out.

If snapped awake you were dreaming.

One can’t awake from reality.

Buddha (in Sanskrit: the awakened) woke
from reality.

Is there another word for to know?

In brief.

The bulk of the head.
Where shall I put it?

A spinning top falls on its side.

“Electrum in the cranium”
(Uri Zvi Greenberg)

Forest of the book.

Talking before you and talking after you.

Chalk squeals on the board.

Too many examples
no longer clear for what.


The secret.
Deep down there is more.

What does it entail?

A blunt tool
to scrape the pan to the bottom.

Simple (from the Latin): one fold, times one.

In Latin clothes are folded.
In Hebrew peeled off.

Left without.

Eye to eye.
The camera broke.

What holds the void?


When someone appears
an opening forms around him.

He steps out and in.

It’s all in the nuance.
Every nuance a trance.


A word is closer to the body when it flies.


“To see the sun again with an ignorant eye”
(Wallace Stevens)

From up high.

Halo at the fingertips.

Peach’s gown.

I collided.
An empty head with a full head.


I fell from the chair.

The height of rationality is a paradox
that’s good for nothing.


My blanket slipped.

More than in the thing
the difficulty is in the in-itself.

Everyone walks around with his name.

Maybe we can’t see
but it’s a thin line.


What’s going on right now
will yet be rumored.

The place faces me.

The skies collide with the grass.

Side by side
The eyes in shadow.


Go figure.

Over the edge it’s no longer itself.


“No steel can pierce the human heart so chillingly as a period put just at the right place.”
(Isaac Babel)

The chisel cheats the blunt.

The back knows
what the face never knows.

From nowhere to gaze at somewhere.

There’s the law
and there’s the lap.


in play.

The swamp won’t dry up.

No matter how much I stir
it won’t mix any more.

Kick the ground out of its slumber.

Only when the trumpet entered did we grasp we’d been waiting for it.

As from a fountainhead.

Short waves
from the center of delusion.

I’m losing it.
How much longer can one hold on to memory?

Maybe I’m long gone.

What’s going on?


Eavesdropping on myself.


The night is abstract.

A cloud loose above the city.

Beauty in the air.

The mountain’s maw spouts verses.

Pregnant with fate.

After the music
a space is left between the crumbs.

The space simmers.

A vessel of fire
from the feet to the scalp.

In the dream a giant popped up wresting from me a baaa
for panic.

Caught me unawares.

“A big fish
Is not a small fish but big”
(Nissim Aloni)


Dream is quicker than thought.

What’s quicker than dream?

“If you say ‘chariot’ a chariot passes
Through your lips”


The footprints lead up to me and vanish.


The cave is all around.

The farthest the will can reach
is satisfaction.


“Taking my coat off and bearing it on my shoulder
I felt lighter.”

How to complete a wave?

The temple
recedes when touched.

It’s about to rain.

Sweet smoke from olive or eucalyptus logs.


The deep woods of the present.


Two breaths
next to each other.

The body rushes to the zone of caress.


Genesis now.

Virtual as well as real.

The first time
it’s the first time.

The jaw drops.

There is no genesis.
Forget genesis.

A crush of figures adrift on a common raft.

And we
where did we come from?

The beginning forgets itself.

A soft mesh
mantles the earth.

Scarcely in the air.

Light aircraft pull key sentences.

A lie floats.

Truth is stranger than a lie.

Pshat of imagination is imagination.

Chairs squeaking against the floor.
The party in full swing.

The chord flocks up.

The plot.
Shoved (baggage and all) into the future.

One word or two and all the rest.

Does it matter
if it matters.

Without sorrow there’s nothing to talk about.

The finger grazes the word
the eyes lift from the page.


This is as close as you can get.

Laugh all you like.

“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither”


A white boat sails across the sloping page.

There is no before
and no after.