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How to Succeed in Academics Without Doing Any Research

November 7th, 2012 · No Comments · Culture and Ideas

Haim Watzman The second of this week’s guest posts on the Jewish Book Council’s ProsenPeople blog. “Are you a professor?” asked the woman sitting next to me on the plane from Israel to New York. She’d been eyeing my laptop screen on and off for most of the flight, as I did a final polish […]

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The Tents Produce Poetry

August 4th, 2011 · No Comments · Culture and Ideas

Haim Watzman My friend from Kehilat Yedidya, Nir Levy, has been commemorating the current protest movement with a poem a day. Levy, who writes under the penname Nahir Libi, is the author of a fine first book of poetry, Mahol HaNefesh, which he’s also turned into an intriguing and moving show integrating readings of his […]

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A Short Story Translation: Nurit Kotler’s “Next to the Traffic Signal, Under the Streetlight”

December 4th, 2010 · No Comments · Culture and Ideas

Haim Watzman My translation of Nurit Kotler’s short story, “Next to the Traffic Signal, Under the Streetlight,” has just been posted on the Zeek website, after appearing in the Summer 2010 issue. Set in Paris, the story tells of an unscheduled and unlooked-for encounter between a nervous Israeli expatriate and an elderly Jewish man. Good […]

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My Wife Watches Me — A Poem by Giora Fisher

November 1st, 2010 · 4 Comments · Culture and Ideas

Haim Watzman The one great emotion most neglected by poets is the profound love of the long-married couple written from the perspective of middle age. Most poets who reach that age (one wonders what Byron might have sounded like at 60), the male ones in particular, seem to be hung up over their lost libido. […]

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Stuck on the Fence: Shahar Bram’s “North of Boston”

July 13th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Culture and Ideas

Haim Watzman When I encountered Shahar Bram’s lyric “North of Boston” on the back page of Ha’aretz’s arts section last month, I was immediately struck by its plethora—celebration, really—of intertextuality and interlingual word play. A poem awash in allusions and puns that cross textual and linguistic boundaries is by definition impossible to render into any […]

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The Poem as Translation–Leah Goldberg’s “About Myself”

May 29th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Culture and Ideas

Haim Watzman It’s always easy to tear a translation apart, and the easiest kind of translation to tear apart is poetry. Vladimir Nabokov, who lived multilingually and thought a lot about translation, was one of the best, and funniest, critics of other people’s renditions of Russian classics into English—as can be seen now in his […]

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Marking it Up–Sami Berdugo’s “A Competition” in English

January 13th, 2010 · No Comments · Culture and Ideas

Haim Watzman Every translator’s been there (and I was, just this week). A client says he showed your work to someone else, who proceeded to mark it up with improvements. The client deduces that you gave him a bad translation. Go convince him that there can be two good translations of a single text. The […]

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