Israel in Translation
About This Show
Israel in Translation explores Israeli literature in English translation through street names, famous literary sites, and popular music. From Biblical poetry to the yearning of Andalusia song, from memoirs of the founding of the State of Israel to contemporary speculative fiction, we will explore Israel’s literary countryside, cityscapes, and psychological terrain, and the lives of the people who create it.
Most Recent Episode
Mahmoud Darwish and the song of the oud
6 days ago
Last week Muslims celebrated the holiday of Eid al-Adha, which remembers how Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son to God. Muslims believe Abraham's son to be Ishmael (not Isaac, as mentioned in the Bible). In honor of this festival, host Marcela Sulak reads two poems by Mahmoud Darwish. Here is the beginning of "Ismael's Oud": "A mare dances on two strings—that’s how Ismael’s fingers listen to his blood. The villages scatter like poppies in the rhythm. There’s neither night there nor day. Divine tarab touches us. All points rush towards the elemental Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Everything will begin anew." ["Tarab" is an Arabic term for experiencing ecstasy in music] Darwish is considered the Palestinian national poet. He was born in a village in the Galilee in 1942. He and his family fled to Lebanon in 1948, and his village was destroyed by the Israeli army. Returning to the newly formed state of Israel a year later, Darwish remained there until 1970, when he left to study at the University of Moscow, before moving to Egypt and Lebanon. When he joined the PLO in 1973, he was banned from reentering Israel. He settled in Ramallah in 1995 and passed away in 2008. Darwish wrote over 20 books of poetry and nonfiction, first publishing in Al Jadid, the literary periodical of the Israeli Communist Party, eventually becoming its editor. Text: Mahmoud Darwish, Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? Translated by Jeffrey Sacks. Archipelago Books, 2006. Music:Abdelkarim Dali - Ibrahim El Khalil Le Trio Joubran - Roubama Le Trio Joubran - Hawana Nasser Shamma - From Great Masters of the Oud