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Israël - France

L’Héritage de Babel, éloge de la diversité (L’Harmattan, 2005)

Bluma Finkelstein has Romanian origins. She is a teacher of French and comparative literature at Haifa university. She lives in Haifa. She is a major figure in contemporary Israeli literature in French and is a militant member of various organisations that strive to bring Israel and Palestine closer such as the Centre Culturel des Amitiés judéo-arabes and Beit Haguefen. She has been the instigator of several cultural projects such as the Chemin des Poèmes. She has also served as an elected communist municipal representative for Haifa. She has published 23 collections of poetry in France as well as three literary essays.

In french

Poems :

  • Toutes les étoiles sauront (Editions En Forêt, Allemagne, 2006 - édition bilingue)

A short extract from some of the author’s poems, loosely translated :

Only words are written down
But can a well of spoken words give water ?
Can it meet all expectations and resemble the sea ?
I write, I dig, not unlike the ant wishing it were a vulture
My voice strays from the weightlessness of the words
My empty eyes rest on the waiting page
But a single tear does not suffice to write
You need to experience a lot of pain to really cry
Will the sun come out, dry the pond and clear the mess ?
Don’t say anything and the dictionary will not be needed
a single page is useless on this battlefield
forget the glossaries hide the pen and stop trying to define your verity
breathe in deeply your quarter hour of true freedom
Ah, to be the trace of a world buried ‘neath the ageless and hopeless sands
To not talk about the moon and forget the sun
To listen to the tree heralding the edge of the forest
Never the same figure
Never the same image
Silence is nothing
Spread out on the page
Superb is the language that is limited to the full stop and the silencing of the knell
Magnificent is the death of the written word spreading over life and the meaning of life
As the flight of the eagle in the mountains
as the whiteness of the snow and the heat of the desert
natural and peaceful in their eternal place
such are words for people who have only words to live or die
After the words comes appeasement
And with it the superb silence
The magnificent silence of the earth
In its amorphous but peaceful depth
A written word weighs
As the granite that bears on the earth
With its rocky weight
The word from a single mouth is
A spider’s web that imprisons us in its steel threads
I clean up the stream where my nostalgia soaks. The ardent desire to speak poetry wears out my reticence and I let flow the words I steal from the silence

Literary essays :

  • L’Héritage de Babel, éloge de la diversité (L’Harmattan, 2005)

A brief summary of L’Héritage de Babel :

Physically, the period we live in postdates the Tower of Babel. But spiritually, we are its direct heirs. Is a good or a bad inheritance ? What lessons can we draw from the biblical story of the destruction of the Tower ? Wouldn’t we have been more at peace and less warlike with one another if we’d achieved true unity amongst humans when the tower was being built ?