Orit Gidali
(Israel, 1974)   
 
 
 
Orit Gidali

In Orit Gidali’s work, ‘The domestic sphere is the stage on which the drama of the geopolitical is revealed on an individual scale’, according to her translator Marcela Sulak.
 
In a recent interview with Sulak, the poet said, ‘I was born after [the Yom Kippur] war; my father fought in many wars, and I am a mother of sons. As such, I am part of the Israeli danse macabre, a society that is tied to a violent conflict, which influences my existential anxiety, and my understanding that there is a gap between the inside of the home, with its purity and beauty, and the violence outside. I feel helpless, ashamed and sad in face of the political situation, and these feelings take deep root in my poetry’.

‘Often lyric poetry is equated with a retreat into the private sphere’, Sulak notes in the introduction to a forthcoming bilingual selection of Gidali’s work. She adds:

. . . the speaker is answerable only to the self. This withdrawal from a predetermined social narrative is one answer to the dilemma of the danse macabre Gidali describes. But Gidali’s domestic space is by no means a private retreat.  For Gidali, the domestic is always already inhabited by ‘the other’. Gidali’s most private and most domestic poems are multi-voiced because in the house of Gidali’s poetry, the body, the language and the mouths that speak it, are haunted – or perhaps simultaneously inhabited – by the speaker’s ancestors, by the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs. And the language of Gidali’s poetry shows [these] traces.

Gidali, a graduate of the psychology department of the Hebrew University, received an MA in Creative Writing from Ben Gurion University. She has taught at Tel Aviv and Ariel universities and currently leads private writing workshops.

She is the author of two books of poetry and a children’s picture book. A theater piece based on her poem ‘Did you pack it yourself?’ was performed at the Akko Theater Festival in 2006. Gidali is married to poet Alex Ben Ari and is the mother of four children.

© Lisa Katz

Bibliography

Poetry

In Hebrew
Smeekhoot
(Closing in), Hakibbutz Hameuchad, Tel Aviv, 2009
Esreem na’arot lekanay (Twenty girls to envy me), Sifriat Hapoalim, Bnai Brak, 2003
 
In English
‘Did you pack it yourself?’ and ‘Girl’The Ilanot Review, Summer 2014
‘My Beloved’ and ‘Note’Blue Lyra Review 1.2, Fall 2012
Nora the Mind Reader, Enchanted Lion Books, Brooklyn, 2012

In Spanish
‘Kohelet’, elescarmujo, 26 February 2014

Children's books
Noona koret makhshavot (Nora the Mind Reader), Kinneret Zmora-Bitan, Or Yehuda, 2011
 
Links
Gidali's website
The poet’s writing workshops
The poet’s blog
Entry on Wikipedia
Entry in the Ohio State University Lexicon of Contemporary Hebrew Literature
 
Reviews
David Zonshein on Gidali’s first book
Yitzhak Laor on Gidali’s second book: ‘Love, like watermelon, is ninety percent water’
Eli Hirsh on Gidali’s dramatic narrative


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