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Yehuda Vizan
(Israel, 1985)   
Yehuda Vizan

"On the one hand, I am an incorrigible romantic", poet and translator Yehuda Vizan told an Israeli journalist five years ago, when he was 27. "I believe that anyone who is profoundly engaged with literature has to in some way be a romantic. But I do not believe in the myth of genius, in someone who sits at home and just farts out something. There's no such thing. If you haven't read, you won't know. There is no writing without reading; there's no such thing, not even in a Derridean sense. No, no, no. You have to follow the order. Sit down and read.
"I am trying to find an intersection where American Objectivist poet Louis Zukofsky meets 7th century Hebrew poet Eliazar Hakalir, the place where the song of the language connects with the Hebrew language, where the poetry is contemplative without being philosophy and prose".

"Poetry has mainly turned into a series of gags," told his interviewer. "I had a conversation with [poet and theater critic] Nano Shabtai. I asked her about a certain poetry evening at which she appeared, and she replied that it was outstanding, that the audience laughed. When I read Uri Zvi Greenberg or Eliot, I don't, in fact, laugh. Perhaps it's my own personal preference, but I like the ones, who when you sit before them like a pupil in a heder [an ultra-Orthodox school for young boys]; it's like they are clucking their tongue at you. I like this feeling, sitting before a poet who is teaching you a lesson, even if indirectly. People think that I scorn the present, but you have to know the past in order to move something in the present. You need a foundation."

Vizan, a founding editor of the literary magazine Dehak, has served as a critic for the Walla internet site, Time Out Tel Aviv, and Haaretz, and in the past worked as a basketball coach, constuction laboroer and teacher. His novel Pekah was awarded the Israeli Ministry of Culture Prize for debut fiction. The writer, whose grandparents emigrated from Tunisia, Libya and Turkey, was born in Yehud and lives in Tel Aviv.

© Maya Sela , excerpted from her interview with the poet, Haaretz English edition 31 August 2012

Poems of Yehuda/Shiray Yehuda, Tel Aviv, Achshav, 2006
Introduction to light aesthetics/Mavo l'aesthetika kala Tel Aviv, Plonit, 2008
Wrung/P'korim Tel Aviv, Achshav, 2012
Counter-regulations/Takanot sh-me-neged, Jerusalem, Poetry Place, 2016
Pekah, Tel Aviv, Ahuzat Beit, 2016
Murder in the Cathedral, T. S. Eliot, (with Orit Gat) Tel Aviv, Achshav, 2009
Sweeney Agonistes, T. S. Eliot, Tel Aviv, Achshav,2009
Maus I, Art Spiegelman, Tel Aviv, Meneged, 2010
Maus II, Art Spiegelman, Tel Aviv, Meneged, 2010
Freshwater, Virginia Woolf, Tel Aviv, Emda, 2010
In Words, Words Word - on Hamlet/Milim, milim, milim - al Hamlet, essays by Voltaire, Goethe, et al, Tel Aviv, Resling, 2016
Other People's Poems, Translations from English language poetry/Shirim shel aherim, Tel Aviv, Achshav, 2016
Translations (children)
The Cat and the Devil, James Joyce, in Dehak 2, 2012
The Cats of Copenhagen, James Joyce, in Dehak 3, 2013
The Wishing Tree, Faulkner, Tel Aviv, Rimonim, 2016

In English
Interview: an iconclast in the Israeli poetry world
In Hebrew
More poems

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