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Gali-Dana Singer
(Russia, 1962)   
Gali-Dana  Singer

Bilingual poet, artist, photographer and translator Gali-Dana Singer was born in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) and immigrated to Israel in 1988. To Think: A River, her first book of poems in Hebrew, in translation from the original Russian, appeared in 2000. The most recent of three volumes written in Hebrew, Translucent, was published in 2017.

“A marvelous musicality emerges at first reading, the opposite of monotonous, of the kind that moves from beat to beat”, writes Israeli poet and critic Yitzhak Laor about Singer’s latest book. “In a restrained, almost sarcastic spirit, she does not rule out the possibility of silence but rather examines its advantages over talk”:

All the words
belong to the one whose silence is the world
what generosity
or deceit?      
And whoever shuts his mouth
and swallows them all
has he saved anything?
Do all the words
belong to the one whose silence is the world
and all the world
to the one who breaks the silence?     

                                                            'The one whose silence is the world'

Laor also identifies "jazziness" in Singer's work, and claims a connection to the "eclectic post-modernism" of another Israeli poet, Hezy Leskly, whom she has translated into Russian.

In a review of Singer's previous book, Blind Poems, Ya'ara Ben David writes about bilingual, immigrant poets that "in many cases, adherence to the mother tongue stems from a psychological difficulty to become receptive to new experience. An emotional barrier is erected that limits the writer to the borders of her [first] language and culture. One must praise the opposite phenomenon, of which Gali-Dana Singer takes part. Her sensitivity to poetic language in general and the way she manages the challenges of Hebrew in particular explain her widespread use of word play and rhyme."

In fact, in an interview conducted when Blind Poems was published, Singer told PIW:

I think that, paradoxically, the fact that I am so close to language in my Russian poems is what caused my proximity to Hebrew. I accepted the new language in exactly the same proportions. Of course I'm the same poet but I write different things in a different language. What moves me to write is mainly the experience of language. If I wanted to express only my personal experience, my life, I wouldn't need to write in a different language.

An editor of literary magazines and anthologies in Russian and in Hebrew (of the bilingual magazine Colon, and the radio program Bi-vocality), Singer served as a workshop leader in the Poets Dialogue series in Jerusalem, and as editor of the bilingual anthology of the same name. Her work has appeared in every major literary magazine in Israel, in magazines in Russia and the US, and a Carcanet anthology of Russian-language women poets edited by Daniel Weissbort and Valentina Polukhina. Seven volumes of her poetry have been published in Russian, and four in Hebrew; she is the recipient of the Absorption Ministry's Prize for Israeli immigrant writers and in 2004, the Prime Minister Levi Eshkol Literary Prize. Singer has participated in the Israeli Poetry Festival in Metulla three times, winning the Teva Poetry Prize awarded there, in the International Jerusalem Poets Festival, and the Moscow Festival. Shalom Aleichem, her anthology of translations of 50 years of Israeli poetry, appeared in Moscow in 1998.

© Lisa Katz


BOOKS in Hebrew
To think: a river/Lakhshov: nahar  [Translations from Russian by Amir Or, Ruth Blumert, Zali Gurevitz, et al], Tel Aviv, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2000.
Blind poems/Shirim eevreem Tel Aviv, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2002
The coiner of incidences/Tseroof mikreem Ra'anana, Even Hoshen, 2006
Translucent/Shkufeem l'mekhtsah Ra'anana, Even Hoshen, 2017
[As translator] Savely Grinberg. Beh-do-or, Ra'anana, Even Hoshen, 2014

Two poems in An Anthology of Contemporary Russian Women Poets, ed. Daniel Weissbort and Valentina Polukhina, Manchester, Carcanet, 2013

BOOKS in Russian
Сборник (Иерусалим: Аудитория, 1992)
Адель Килька. Из. 1985 (Иерусалим: Аудитория, 1993)
Осажденный Ярусарим (Иерусалим: Гешарим; М.: Мосты культуры, 2002)
Часть це (М.: АРГО-РИСК; Тверь: Колонна, 2005)
Хождение за назначенную черту (М.: Новое литературное обозрение, 2009)
Точки схода, точка исчезновения (М.: Новое литературное обозрение, 2013)
Взмах и взмах, (Поэзия без границ, 2016)

[As translator into Russian]
Мир да пребудет с вами: Стихи современных поэтов Израиля (М.: Радуга, 1999)
Исраэль Элираз. Гёльдерлин и другие стихотворения (М.: АРГО-РИСК; Тверь: Колонна, 2013)
Йона Волах. Дела (Калининград: Phoca Books, 2016)
Хези Лескли. Палец  (Калининград: Phoca Books, 2016)
Дэвид Шапиро. Человек без книги  ( Ozolnieki: Literature Without Borders, 2017)
In English Interview
In Hebrew The poet reading from 'The Coiner of Incidences'
In Russian
The poet's website
The poet's blog


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