First book-length collection of the work of the celebrated Israeli poet.
Reality Crumbs is the first book-length collection in English of the work of the celebrated Israeli poet, playwright, and filmmaker Raquel Chalfi. Versatile and unpredictable, Chalfi's often visionary and dramatic poetry has been acclaimed for its independence and daring by leading Israeli critics. In the words of poet and critic Eli Hirsch, her work is a "thrilling combination of simplicity and chaos, clarity and mystery."
Ever present in Chalfi's poetry is the need to touch, to feel the tangible and sensuous, as well as a desire to break all boundaries and smash so-called conventional wisdoms, be they social, cultural, or linguistic. Her poems are often anxious, restless, inquisitive, nearly physical in their constant search for, and chasing after, that one element that will help them get a step closer to grasping the mystery at their center. And if she takes on the persona of a wild biker or a witch, it is not merely to travel freely in the land of fancy and so taste another's life, but, more importantly, to measure the extent of her empathy.
Raquel Chalfi is the author of many volumes of poetry, and her work has been translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages. She has received numerous literary awards, including the Prime Minister's Prize, the Ashman Prize, the Bialik Prize for Poetry, and the Brenner Prize for Poetry. She is also a playwright and filmmaker, and has taught film at Tel Aviv University. She lives and works in Tel Aviv. The author of nine books, Tsipi Keller is a novelist and translator. Her previous translations include Poets on the Edge: An Anthology of Contemporary Hebrew Poetry (also published by SUNY Press) and Maya Bejerano's The Hymns of Job and Other Poems. She lives and works in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Praise for Raquel Chalfi
"Raquel Chalfi's poems are filled with sharp intelligence, but also passion, gusto, and surprise. You never know where these poems are going, but they are carrying a fully lived life of pleasure and pain with them—and often they will sneak up on you and make you laugh. Or else make you want to dance." — Alicia Ostriker
"This is very wise poetry, insightful, often reminiscent of Wisława Szymborska—in its lucidity, its intellectualism, its new humanism … The range of its subject matter and the consistency of its philosophy are unique and highly impressive." — Ariel Hirschfeld
"Raquel Chalfi electrifies words that are very familiar to us, and makes us see, for the first time, what we have seen many times without seeing. She's a lyrical poet, subtle and precise, whose work radiates warmth, life, and wisdom." — Amos Oz
"Chalfi's poetry is complex, it cannot be defined or labeled as belonging to any particular literary trend—a multifaceted poetry, linguistically rich and daring." — Haaretz
"Chalfi is an important poet. There is independence and risk-taking in her work, and she has broken through several literary fences … You can feel the earth shaking under your feet … Her poetry is unique and remarkable … No one writes like her." — Gabriel Moked
"Chalfi tries to seize nothingness, to peel off the layers of spiritual existence … She spreads her broad poetic wings over all this with great momentum and unimaginable gentleness." — Dimui
Praise for Tsipi Keller's Poets on the Edge: An Anthology of Contemporary Hebrew Poetry
"…an introduction for an English-speaking audience to the wealth of contemporary poets writing in Israel today … The careful translations are sensitive to both Hebrew cadence and English idiom. Covering a wide range of themes including love, politics, doubt, death, identity, and even poetry itself, these poems are a carefully curated collection." — Jewish Book World
"This new anthology of Hebrew poetry in translation has two special strengths—tremendous depth and a personal touch … It's clear that [Keller] has strong feelings on which poets matter, and wants to explain why they matter." — Jerusalem Post"Poets on the Edge deserves to be in every poetry lover's library, and should be on every Jewish bookshelf. Not since Carmi's 1981 Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse has a volume of such significance been published." — The Jewish Daily Forward
"This comprehensive and amazing anthology is a great read best taken slowly, savoring each page of outstanding poetry. Tsipi Keller has had the patience and intelligence to select a stimulating and powerful group of poems, with accurate and very readable translations." — Shirley Kaufman
"Poets on the Edge is a true masterpiece. The translations are sensitive, wise, graceful, and insightful; the selection is rich and inviting. What a brilliant achievement!" — Miriyam Glazer
"Keller's breathtaking anthology, some twenty years in the making, shows that voices of contemporary Israeli poetry can be compellingly narrative, elegantly lyrical, elegiac, passionate, eccentric, and even phantasmagoric. Her translations convey the skepticism, wit, and energy of these poets who speak of loves and breakups, query their places in Jewish history, contemplate metaphysical questions, and paint pictures of everyday life in Israel." — Lynn Levin