5 August 2009 0 Comments

Poetry from the ‘driest’ book of the Bible: Yakov Azriel’s Writing Life

A few years ago I was at a literary conference near Tel Aviv. I found an eclectic mix of writers on the panel with me. I’m a crime writer. You wouldn’t expect me to be paired with a writer of poetry who takes his inspiration from the stories of the Bible. But as Yakov Azriel […]

30 June 2009 1 Comment

Poets central to Palestinian culture

My favorite Palestinian poet is Taha Muhammad Ali, a quietly bumbling presence when he reads his poems, but a deceptively intelligent writer. The warmth and intelligence of Taha’s readings drove Adina Hoffman, a Jerusalem-based writer, to plan a biography of the poet (“My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian […]

26 June 2009 0 Comments

When poets do the talking

A new book examines the lives of Palestinian poetsBy Matt Beynon Rees – on GlobalPost JERUSALEM — Whenever Palestinian and Israeli artists get together for public “dialogues,” it always seems to end with the Israelis saying, “We’re sorry,” and the Palestinians responding, “Screw you anyway.” That was how it went at a literary conference in […]

31 March 2009 0 Comments

My favorite Palestinian poet gets a biography

Anyone who has heard Taha Muhammad Ali read his poetry will know he’s the greatest of Palestinian writers. There are others who’ve been better known — Mahmoud Darwish, for example, who died last year and was generally called the Palestinian national poet. But Taha, who sat quietly in his tourist shop in Nazareth until his […]