New York State Writers InstituteJudaic Studies
Linda Zisquit
Linda Zisquit
Unopened Letters: Poems
October 30, 2001

"The Use of Biblical/Jewish Themes in Poetry"

Prof D Grossberg's The Bible as Literature Class
9:45-11:00 a.m., HU 137

"How 3 Contemporary Israeli Poets Use Jewish Texts"
Lunch and Learn Series
12N-2:00 p.m, Patroon Private Dining Room*

8:00 p.m. Reading
Humanities 290

All three events are free and open to the public.
UAlbany, Uptown Campus

Poet, editor and translator LINDA ZISQUIT has lived in Jerusalem with her husband and five children since 1978. A graduate of Tufts, Harvard and SUNY Buffalo, Zisquit teaches poetry, writing, Hebrew literature, and translation at the Hebrew University's Rothberg School. For the past ten years, she has served as Literary Editor of Tikkun, a bimonthly Jewish critique of politics, culture and society. She is also founder and director of Artspace, a popular Jerusalem gallery.

Wild Light by Yona Wallach

Zisquit received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for her latest work of translation, Wild Light: Selected Poems of Yona Wallach (Sheep Meadow Press, 1997, ISBN 1-878818-54-6). Wallach, who died in her mid-forties in 1985, was one of the great Hebrew poets of her generation. Her work challenges gender norms, assumptions about language, political ideologies, and traditional Judaism.

"Its cutting edge seemed to speak to a generation of readers who, like Wallach, were born and raised in Israel and who saw in her demonic, half-crazed figures. . .a sort of shattered defiance of the self in a country caught in a 'cri de conscience' in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War." - Poet Gabriel Levin on Wallach's poetry

The American-born Zisquit, who began translating Wallach's poetry in 1979 with only an elementary knowledge of Hebrew, felt herself pulled into Wallach's difficult language. "People would ask, isn't she too difficulty?" Zisquit wrote in Tikkun, "Impossible? All that savaging of Hebrew, that shattering of tradition, that turning upside-down of the world as we are used to knowing it. I had no answer but a drive to go on, clearly challenged by Wallach's brilliance and charged by her contrariness."

Zisquit is the author of the poetry collection Ritual Bath (Broken Moon Press, 1993, ISBN 0-913089-29-X) with a forward by Rita Dove. Zisquit's most recent collection of original poetry is Unopened Letters: Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, 1996), which Robert Creeley called

"an unexpected testament of singularly complex feeling. Linda Zisquit's work is uniquely present yet timeless. It's clarity has no equal."

Leading Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai said

"This is a special book of a woman's poetry. Exact and delicate and strong like lace. Soft and sensuous and yet powerful like a machine."

Selected poems, translations and essays have appeared in journals in the US, UK, France, and Israel, including The Harvard Review, Paris Review, Parnassus, Ploughshares, Stand (UK), Tikkun and in anthologies including Modern Poems on the Bible, (Jewish Publication Society, 1994); Modern Poetry in Translation, Palestinian and Israeli Poets, (London, 1999); Israel Issue, (London, 1993); Voices Within the Ark (Avon, 1980).

*For reservations for Lunch and Learn Series call
Julie Nordwind Phillips at 591-8514
Judaic Studies
Hebrew University
Boston Review