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This report is taken from PN Review 104, Volume 21 Number 6, July - August 1995.

The Third Jerusalam International Poets' Festival David Kuhrt

It is typical of the aggravations associated with the politics of present day Jerusalem that Israeli archaeologists are currently digging under the Al-Aksa Mosque for the remains of their Hebrew traditions and upsetting Arab worshippers. Old Jerusalem (Yerah: city, Shalem: peace) is, however, a place of relative peace as far as the visitor is concerned if its cohabiting traditions are compared with the hidden political realities. The Jerusalem International Poets' Festival is an occasion for savouring the positive goodwill existing on both sides which goes unreported.

Among 38 poets invited to read (of whom 17 were Israeli) the following are familiar names in the English-speaking poetry world: Yehuda Amichai, Nathan Zach, Edoardo Sanguineti, Jon Silkin, Shirley Kaufmann, Galway Kinnell, Dennis Silk, Miroslav Holub. The readings, which took place in the Khan Theatre, were regrettably inaccessible for non-Israelis: poetry in English (Silkin, Kinnell, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scotland; Lucille Clifton, USA; and 2 Israeli poets, Shirley Kaufmann and Dennis Silk) was screened in Hebrew translation, but screened translations of the following poets reading in their native languages, were all Hebrew: Nabaneeta Dev Sen (Bengali); Holub (Czech); Ivan Lalie and Stevan Tontic (Serbo-Croat); Mario Luzi and Sanguineti (Italian); Nese Yasin (Turkish Cypriot); Antonio Franco Alexandre (Portuguese); Makoto Öoko (Japanese); Timour Kibirov (Russian); Michail Gendeliev (Israeli, reading in Russian); Taha Mohammad Ali and Salman Masalha, both Israeli, and Abdullah al-Udhari, bilingual also reading English (all Arabic); Christine Koschel (German); Maria Laina (Greek); Jose Angel Valente (Spanish); Emmanuel Moses (French); Marzanna Kielar (Polish); ...

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