“The phenomenon of poetry can be divided into two types”, says one Israeli reviewer of Batsheva Dori-Carlier’s debut book, Soul Search, winner of the 2015 Helicon Ramy Ditzanny Prize for emerging authors: “Those who write following a particular experience, and those who write upon a rush of feeling. Dori-Carlier’s lovely volume was written on the heels of explicit situations, creating exact, restrained work, from which the reader may practically map her biography”.
"And these situations are many," poet Bacol Serlui continues in her review: "The book opens with a poem, PROLOGUE, about her love affair with a young man from a foreign country; [it advances through] the stages of that love and its development into marriage, and a brave and biting description of how it matured, and [finally] COUPLES THERAPY". In sum, Serlui writes, the poet "lifts life situations into the realm of art", not without humor.
Intellectual historian Shoey Raz too likes Dori-Carlier's "willingness to devote several series of poems to her family, the history of how her relationship [with her husband] came into being, its many ups and downs (which I find very brave, I doubt I would write about intimate relationships), her childhood in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nahlaot, in particular…sensual childhood memories".
But it is also apparent that Dori-Carlier is not only interested in the details of her own life. She makes "a significant attempt to restore joint Jewish-Arab life to the the poetry stage," according to poet and editor Noa Shakargy. "While the book is not conceptual, and is not devoted to political themes, nonetheless it is hard to ignore its authentic attempt to discuss what has long gone out of fashion, but is still present and requires attention, lest we lose hope". See IS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO WRITE 'OLIVE TREE' WITHOUT MURDERING A DOVE?
Batsheva Dori-Carlier was born in Jerusalem to parents who left Iraq in the 1950s. After high school, she studied German literature, history and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jeruslaem, and at the Freie Universität in Berlin. For 18 years, Dori-Carlier worked as a macrobiotics teacher, chef and consultant in Israel, Belgium, Germany and England. A graduate of both the Helicon (Tel Aviv) and Poetry Place (Jerusalem) workshops, she edits poetry, translates poetry from German and Dutch, and for the last four years has been teaching Hebrew literature to English-speakers, and has led a poetry workshop for Israeli school children. She is in her second, final year at The College of Literary Arts, a post-secondary, non-degree granting institution in Jerusalem founded by Poetry Place, and dedicated to creative writing and translation.
Nefesh, Heshbon/Soul, Search, Poetry Place, Jerusalem 2015
PODCAST: a radio interview with the poet
POEM: Letter to the reader
YOUTUBE: The poet sings Um Kultoum
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