Poetry and poets in the public sphere

Download Poetry and poets in the public sphere

Post on 07-Apr-2017

229 views

Category:

Documents

8 download

TRANSCRIPT

  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Texas Libraries]On: 04 December 2014, At: 09:05Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

    Israel AffairsPublication details, including instructions for authorsand subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fisa20

    Poetry and poets in the publicsphereAssaf Meydania & Nadir Tsurba School of Government and Society, Academic CollegeTel-Aviv-Yaffo, Israelb Harry S. Truman Research Institute for theAdvancement of Peace, Hebrew University ofJerusalem, IsraelPublished online: 01 Apr 2014.

    To cite this article: Assaf Meydani & Nadir Tsur (2014) Poetry and poets in the publicsphere, Israel Affairs, 20:2, 141-160, DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2014.889889

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537121.2014.889889

    PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

    Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, orsuitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressedin this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not theviews of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content shouldnot be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions,claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilitieswhatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connectionwith, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.

    This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly

    http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fisa20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/13537121.2014.889889http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537121.2014.889889

  • forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

    http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • Poetry and poets in the public sphere

    Assaf Meydania* and Nadir Tsurb

    aSchool of Government and Society, Academic College Tel-Aviv-Yaffo, Israel; bHarryS. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University of

    Jerusalem, Israel

    Political poetry is not tested by its impact and the number of its readers but inits very participation in the public discourse on the issues of the day. Poetrymoves between forces that focus the attention of its audience inwards, to thelyrics of the poems, and the forces that connect to the social, cultural, andpolitical climate in which the poems are published. These movements reflectthe power of poetry, which, using language, breaks the barriers that existbetween people individuals or groups, as well as between these individualsor groups and reality. This way, the poet serves as the element that formulatesthe informal cultural feelings in society and offers an interpretive package ofthe existing reality, as well as the alternative reality. Poets place their truthwithin the perception of reality, and this truth can compete in the public arenawith the truth that is portrayed by politicians.

    Keywords: Lebanon War; poetry; truth; reality; public arena; publicdiscourse; rhetoric; influence; persuasion; beliefs; ideology; meanings

    Approximately four years before entering the White House as the 35th president

    of the United States, John F. Kennedy gave the commencement speech at

    Harvard University. Addressing the graduates of the class of 1956 he said, If

    more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the

    world would be a better place in which to live. Kennedys statement was never

    tested by reality. It can be assumed that both sides of the equation in the then

    senators act of conviction were only meant to publicly express, in a prestigious

    academic setting, the importance of poetry and the importance of studying its

    place and patterns in the social and cultural fabric even for those who take no

    interest in it and certainly for those wishing to become politicians

    Another offspring of the poetic Irish nation and a member of the Irish senate,

    William Butler Yeats (18651939), who was awarded the Nobel Prize for

    literature in 1923, wrote in his essay Anima Hominis, which appeared in his

    composition Per Amica Silentid Lunae, that rhetoric stems from our

    confrontations with others while poetry stems from our confrontations with

    ourselves.1

    q 2014 Taylor & Francis

    * Corresponding author. Email: assafmei@mta.ac.il

    Israel Affairs, 2014

    Vol. 20, No. 2, 141160, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537121.2014.889889

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

    mailto:assafmei@mta.ac.ilmailto:assafmei@mta.ac.ilhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537121.2014.889889

  • The unique connection between poetry, society, and politics, and between

    them and the human spirit, with its internal struggles and public expressions, rises

    from Kennedys words as well as from Yeats insights. The use of words as a

    mean of expressing opinions is common among those who turn to the public in

    order to mobilize and get it to support their doctrines while they express a social

    or political idea, and among those who express reflections, wonders, self-doubt,

    and disputes that express their conscious conflicts, and wish to share them with

    the public. As far as Yeats and Kennedy are concerned, the two also differ in their

    values and virtues, not just their motives.

    Such things, and others like them, stimulate the desire to delve deeper into

    issues such as the relation between poetry and politics, the public status of poets,

    and the relation between them and politicians. Do poets and poetry have the

    power to influence politicians and lead to institutional, cultural, and social

    changes? What is the role of poets in politics and in political designs? Why do

    politicians need the words of poets?

    In his poem My Crys Song, the poet Uri Zvi Grinberg wrote,

    And my fate be the fate of a prophetI am your innards and you are my grave;the flesh of your bodies a kind of soiland in this grave I walk and cry outthe cry of a prophet buried alive among his peopleand from the depth of this grave raises his voicewith the poem of distraction of heretics and weaklings:who rule the ground above.2

    It is arguable that this portrayal of the fate of the prophet is excessively

    pretentious. Poets perceptions of reality, the echoes of their voices, even their

    cries, are nothing more than another valuation in the public discourse.

    Nevertheless, this should not be underestimated, as it expands the limits of

    discussion and lights dark corners within it. It is clear that it is impossible to

    quantify or evaluate its influence, and this is not the purpose of our discussion.

    Our main argument is that political poetry is not tested according to the extent of

    its impact and the number of those who yearn after it or read its messages, but in

    its very participation in the public discourse regarding the issues of the day.

    Poetry moves between forces that focus the attention of its audience inwards,

    to the lyrics of the poems, and the forces that connect to the social, cultural, and

    political climate in which the poems are published. These movements reflect the

    power of poetry, which, using language, breaks the barriers that exist between

    people individuals or groups, as well as between these individuals or groups

    and reality. In this way, the poet serves as the element that formulates the

    informal cultural feelings in society and offers an interpretive package of the

    existing reality, as well as the alternative reality. Poets place their truth within

    the perception of reality, and this truth can compete in the public arena with the

    truth that is portrayed by politicians.

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur142

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • Being free from the same existential competition that obligates politicians to

    indulge their constituent publicin talk and in action, primarily in order to

    survive in the demanding political arenapoets can consider themselves free

    from the need to flatter and indulge their audiences, and to climb towards higher

    planes of openness in order to spread ideas in the public arena.

    The role of the poet receives a particularly wide significance during times

    when democracy seeks common values or when institutions that are supposed to

    provide and ensure values undergo changes and adjustments. The yearning of the

    public for clear definitions and stability often highlights the status of the poets. In

    the past, they enjoyed prestige and a resemblance to prophets, sophists, and

    interpreters of reality.

    Between politicians and poets

    The idea of the existence of a better place that humans yearn for was discussed for

    millennia, inter alia in Platos writings, way before it was voiced by Kennedy in

    his Harvard address. In his essay The Republic (Politeia, Book 9), the ancient

    Greek philosopher portrayed an ideal utopian reality in a state that may exist

    somewhere in the skies.3 This state mobilizes wisdom, temperance, justice, and

    courage into one totality that promises a better world even to those with desires,

    who comprise the majority of the citizens of the state. Yeats, like Plato, observed

    that every person is simultaneously inhabited by forces of evil and forces of

    virtue that compete with each other. Yeats assumed that the internal self-struggle

    that motivates poets in their poetry expresses moral values and good personality

    traits. In his opinion, prominent poets gained sympathy mainly because they did

    not wear masks or pretendas opposed to politicians or journalists who often

    focus, in his opinion, the best of their efforts towards their audiences while

    remembering the goal: succeeding in the task of convincing them.4 In this way

    Yeats differentiated between poetry and rhetoric, which is supposed to indulge

    and coax its audience, and usually takes measures that might blind the person and

    cast a spell on his or her soul.5

    According to these sayings, conflicts of conscience purify the soul and their

    expression by poets constitute exemplary evidence for their good qualities. This

    is far-fetched. Moreover, there is no evidence for the claim that politicians have

    but one road which is to conceal their true purpose. Nevertheless, it is possible

    that there is something to the assumption that poets motives in writing poetry

    might provide them with social and cultural characteristics that are different from

    those of politicians who use rhetoric. In addition, it can be assumed that while

    politicians have to compromise, particularly when they are at the helm of

    government, poets are not obligated to do so, and their writing can be free from

    constraints such as building coalitions or mobilizing supporters in the political

    market.

    The reality expressed by politicians is mostly influenced by their goals,

    circumstances, and audiences. The competition for power, influence, and status

    Israel Affairs 143

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • that takes place within state institutions and governmental procedures, guides

    politicians to act, inter alia, with the aim of persuasion and inspiration. Moreover,

    the political struggle that is related to the authoritarian allocation of resources and

    norms focuses the politicians efforts to define reality in their own way, to shape

    the expectations of the public, and to construct its beliefs so that it mobilizes to

    support them and work towards common goals.

    By contrast, when describing reality, poets are free from the constraints that

    obligate politicians and they may communicate with higher needs as described by

    Maslows hierarchy.6 Often, poetry breaks from the need to form an identity. In

    addition, it often originates from the urge to love and to be loved, from the need

    for social recognition, or from the need for self-fulfilment and the realization of

    capabilities. Poetry stemming from urges that are frequently classified high on the

    hierarchy of needs and its appeal to these urges was discussed, in its wider sense,

    by the Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci (18911937), who regarded intellectuals

    (including poets) as the spearhead in the struggle for public opinion and for

    shaping basic social and political perceptions. In his opinion, the intellectuals in

    society have the role of locating the cracks through which social and political

    changes may be introduced.7

    Gamson and his colleagues present the political competition between various

    entrepreneurs as a contest between competing interpretations that are promoted

    by them and that lead to the creation of different meanings in public discourse.8

    The social institutions provide individuals with interpretations, and these supply

    a normative worldview from which human behaviour derives. In this context, the

    interpretations proposed by poets can be regarded as competing with those of the

    governing institutions and of the variety of ideas prevalent in the social and

    political arena.

    The Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua argued that all literary writings contain

    overt or latent moral references. The state, any state, has the unique skill of

    silencing cries using historical descriptions, impressive diagrams, and data on

    economic growth rates. The poet can bring back the discussion again and again to

    the individual case, to protest the injustice, and to fight against attempts to

    conceal it. Indeed, big and broad wars are taking place in the arena of words.

    Gunfire is relatively scarce compared to the amount of words that are constantly

    fired from all sides.9 The comparison between words and bullets also appears in

    the writings of the twentieth century French thinker Jean Paul Sartre, who drew

    the idea from the French linguist and essayist Brice Parain (18971972). In his

    book What is Literature, Sartre argued that words are loaded guns. Once they

    leave private territory and enter the public arena, they are as bullets whose flight

    path cannot be controlled by the shooter.10

    Since the dawn of history, poets expressed their admiration for beauty,

    wisdom, and authority; they dedicated poems to the might of gods, kings, or

    heroes; they wrote hymns and pleas; they drew portraits and pictures with their

    words; they worshipped nature (flowers, mountains, rivers) as well as the

    wonders and secrets of the world; they wrote about love, friendship, longing, the

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur144

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • experience of living, wars, victories, hardship, or sorrow; they lamented the death

    of loved ones or defeats on the battlefield. The bible is rich with poetry, without

    which we might not have had clear information regarding various events that

    happened in the ancient world in general and to the nation of Israel in particular.

    The two classic epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, teach us about Troy.

    Nevertheless, the descriptions of events in these two works are not necessarily

    identical. Similarly, poetry in general, what is written in history books, and what

    actually occurred, are not necessarily identical.

    According to Plato, poetry might distort historical data and diverge from the

    pure truth due to poets lack of proficiency in these processes and due to artistic

    constraints. In his opinion, poets exist in a dream state, and a dialectics between

    the world of reality and the world of dreams is evident in their poetry. This might

    expose the poetrys audience to erroneous information, whose power lies in its

    aesthetic and morphological characteristics.11

    Nevertheless, a public and declarative commitment of poets to the truth is

    evident in our time. For example, this is what Israeli poet Meir Wieseltier wrote:

    From day to day our lies rise,little by little they shall be like towers,they will hide the childhood shinglescovering the curious windows of adolescence,each day casting a shadow upon our adulthood.12

    And in his poem Truthfully he complains:

    There are people who find it difficult to acknowledge the truththere are people who finds the truth frighteningthere are people who upon seeing the truth they flee to South Americathere are people that for them truth in their home is as a corpse in the housethere are people who are prepared to die twice and not to see the truth.13

    Solon (640559 BC), an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet, as well as

    one of the seven Greek sages of his time,14 combined in his writing Monodic

    lyrical poetry15 and epic poetry,16 but more than that he is renowned for writing

    social and political hymns. He harnessed his poetic and political talents to patch

    the tatters of Athenian society and to connect the extremist groups that threatened

    it with anarchy. He thus combined statesmanship and poetry and was also a critic

    and interpreter of reality, as well as a guide, attaining a status somewhat akin to a

    prophet. In contrast, many poets lack the desire to operate within the political

    institutions and should not be regarded as politicians.17

    Public discourse, political rhetoric, and poetry

    Public discourse is a flow of messages that takes place constantly in the circles of

    social life. It includes diverse methods and applications that make it possible for

    messages to flow and to be absorbed into the public arena in the various

    circumstances of life. The messages are initiated by individuals, groups, or

    movements inter alia in order to convince and influence; in order to inform,

    Israel Affairs 145

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • teach, or share with each other; or in order to maintain the variety of services that

    connect people and common resources. Michel Foucault (192684) believed that

    through public discourse, culture regulates religious, legal, economic, medical, or

    political imperatives; coordinates between and among individuals and groups;

    and restructures the power arrays in a reality that shapes societies. In his opinion,

    discourse is a human and ritualistic pattern of behaviour that includes, in addition

    to speech, gestures, signs, and symbols that exist in discussions and investigations

    or in lectures and speeches.18

    Not without reason, Foucault, one of the foremost post-structuralist thinkers,

    connected public discourse, politics or power, and moral values, chiefly truth.

    This was also demonstrated in the abovementioned perceptions of Kennedy and

    Yeats. Those messages that are systematically edited and floated in the public

    spaces under the guise of public discourse are therefore restricted to their

    boundaries, so that a truth in one area is not necessarily the absolute truth in

    another area.

    Political rhetoric is employed by politicians, or for political reasons, and is

    addressed to different target audiences using processes that involve competition

    between individuals and between groups. This competition is for things such as

    establishing communities, providing frameworks for joint action, ensuring

    participation, fostering belonging, justifying power distribution in society,

    simplifying, softening, or escalating conflicts, mobilizing the public to support

    policy, or anaesthetizing it and preventing opposition to or discussion of existing

    policy, as well as self-justification for failures, neglect, or controversial policy.

    The means of influence and the various stimuli that are involved in political acts

    of persuasion are focused in efforts to construct beliefs, attitudes, aspirations, or

    impulses, where there are none, or to strengthen, deepen, and establish existing

    beliefs or attitudes; as well as to undermine or uproot opposing beliefs or

    attitudes.19

    By contrast to political rhetoric, it is harder to diagnose exactly what political

    poetry is and to distinguish it from other forms of poetry. Moreover, poetry in

    general is not easy to define and, like any other form of art, it is teeming with

    perceptions and definitions.20 In this context, Shimon Sandback indicated that

    every unambiguous theory regarding the nature of a poem seems inaccurate to

    him due to the great complexity of the subject; whether in the linguistic sense, the

    morphological sense, or in its content. In his opinion, a poem is a poem not

    because it was written as a poem, regarding certain content, or in a certain way,

    but because it was published presented, displayed, and placed as a poem.

    Moreover, the readers are those who decide if what they read is a poem or not.

    The identification of a text as a poem is the result of a collaboration between a

    reader, a text, and the expectations of the reader. This identification is not

    necessarily an outcome of an accumulation of sufficient or necessary

    characteristics that create the familiar but mysterious poetic experience.21

    Sandback drew the inspiration for the title of this essay, Whatisapoem, which

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur146

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • turns three words into one, from the poem A modest contribution to the theory of

    poetry by David Avidan:

    A poem is a thingthat I say is a poemafter I write itas a poem or as a non-poembut publish it as a poem.Now you decide whatisapoem.22

    In referring to texts that need to be diagnosed and labelled as being poems or

    not, David Fishelov argued that poetic texts are characterized by poetic

    qualities. These are identified by the poetry reader, whether intuitively or in an

    acquired manner. Inter alia, Fishelov mentioned a dense structure of parallelism

    between linguistic units (on the phonetic, morphologic, syntactic, and semantic

    levels), figurative language, semantic stresses, word play, and over-

    organization of linguistic elements alongside deviation from linguistic norms.

    In his opinion, a combination of several of these characteristics is sufficient to

    classify a text as a poem.23 Fishelov emphasized that between a poem and a

    non-poem stand the poem itself, the author, and the readers. The variety of

    words in the poem and the order in which they appear are admittedly embedded

    in the composition itself, but only its readers can identify, decipher, perceive,

    and interpret what is written; whether the writer meant the words or not;

    whether the reader acquired knowledge of poetry and its secrets if his

    determinations are intuitive; whether the writer was labelled and recognized as

    a poet or not.

    Political poetry and its types

    Poetry might be perceived as political by its audience even if the writer did not

    mean to convey a political message or ideas, values, praise, or criticism.

    Sermonizing or admonitions that appear in his work might influence his readers

    on the political dimension as well. In the various cultures, there is a public that

    constitutes a reserve of poetry consumers. Undoubtedly, these individuals are

    consciously or unconsciously exposed to political poetry as well. This poetry is

    therefore connected to time, place, and society. It would be reasonable to assume

    that, as far as issues of society and public are concerned, poems that are

    connected to these issues, whether implicitly or explicitly, might take part in the

    competition over opinions in the public arena, since they reflect reality. It is clear

    that poems that focus on nature, the wonders of the world, the beauty of creation,

    the struggles of the soul, love, or human emotions, would not have political

    influence. In this context, the ability of poetry to influence is without question,

    even in the absence of any data regarding the level of its influence, just as there is

    no question regarding the ability of any other art form to influence.

    Menachem Peri distinguished between political poetry, which he argues is

    limited in its subjects and is perceived as political given the time and place and

    Israel Affairs 147

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • the circumstances of its writing and publishing, and poetry that deals with social,

    national, or collective issues. Poems might be regarded as political by one society

    and as apolitical by other societies. Peri argued that political poems are

    simultaneously the servants of several masters. They portray political expressions

    that can be scrutinized in light of their social attribution, according to social

    values and societys agenda, and at the same time, they must connect to the

    entirety of their authors work. Nevertheless, this poetry expresses more conflicts

    that are social and fewer issues that are consensual.24

    Every word that is intertwined into a poem accumulates over time meanings

    that broaden its significance well beyond its lexical values. Every metaphor that

    appears in a poem conceals semantic charges that it accumulated in its various

    reincarnations in the course of time. Poets who carefully weigh every word and

    every punctuationmark appearing in their work harness these expressional assets

    to sharpen theirmessages. Aswith skilled users of rhetoric, poets tend sometimes

    to insert words and phrases that are only discovered after the reader is exposed to

    them, processes them consciously, and compares them with memory and

    meaning files.

    In his poem Pros and Cons, Meir Wieseltier presented his broad perception

    regarding political poetry, assuming there are three stances from which it is

    written civil, prophetic, and ironic:

    It is impossible to tolerate political poetry: this civil or prophetic stance(why should a civilian bother to break lines while talking?)or an irony of paper airplanes against steel and reinforced glass and the elephantsstomps of the electorate and elected. [ . . . ]The poet will go to his inner voice, will quote to his navel,will dream of his father and his mother,or draw the pigeons on his neighbors roof A street in a city, a house on the street,a room within a house, a fruit peel on the tabledrying slowlyslowly.25

    Political expression and participation in the public competition for power,

    status, and social influence, can be attributed to eight main arrays that are evident

    in poems, in their messages, and in the codes hidden in them. These are:

    . Poems with clear political statements and direct ideological messages;

    . Protest poems;

    . Poems aimed at spurring and urging social or political action, behaviour, orthought according to a proposed outline;

    . Poems aimed at warning the readers, while there is still time, of a certainsocial or political catastrophe that might take place as a result of conduct

    they perceive as wrong;

    . Poems aimed at portraying past events, figures, narratives, symbols, andsituations in a new light, as well as poems that contrast or compare between

    past or imaginary events and present events;

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur148

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • . Poems examining the existence of the self in the public arena;

    . Poems that praise certain actions in society, aimed at creating role models;and

    . Poems deemed political by their readers.

    Poems with clear political statements and direct ideological messages

    These poems present a specific idea that is meant to influence the public and

    compete for the heart of the readers with the multitude of ideas available to

    them in the general public discourse. Using these poems, the authors wish to

    take part in the existing struggle between competing political outlooks within

    the linguistic community in which the poems appear. The French philosopher

    Louis Althusser (191890) determined that ideology is the same as an engine

    that operates social systems and an instrument that provides meaning to

    institutions, processes, and construction of a social and cultural reality. In his

    opinion, ideology expresses social identities, hierarchies, authorities, and

    reciprocation between individuals in society using narratives, myths, and

    symbols.26 Daniel Bell, author of The End of Ideology, made use of this term

    not just as an expression of cultural worldviews or as covering interests, but as

    a system of beliefs that groups ideas with the goal of converting them into

    social leverages. When the system accumulates power, it is able to provide

    answers to the questions society might ask.27

    Miron distinguished between political poetry and subversive poetry, and

    between ideological poetry and conservative poetry.28 However, Yochai

    Oppenheimer indicates that the origin of the political aspect in poems is in the

    translation of ideological stances on topical issues to the language of political

    discourse that is appropriate to their time.29 Taking an ideological stance that is

    apparently limited in political time has value even in the discourse that takes

    place beyond the time and place in which the words were written or to which they

    were aimed. In this context, the poet is an additional important provider of values

    and their definitions.

    An example of a poem with a clear ideological message, which expresses a

    political idea even eight decades after it was written, is Uri Zvi Grinbergs poem

    I Hate the Peace of Those who Surrender:

    I hate the peace of those who surrender, signed by forceupon the fallen Jews and in the stench of blood,upon a layer of feathers in the slush as snowflakesand the Torah books scorched in the skin of the flesh.30

    The poem was written in 1930, sometime before the Irgun (the National

    Military Organization in the Land of Israel) was established. The Irgun criticized

    the Hagana (Defence) organization for its irresolute path in the struggle against

    British rule over the Land of Israel and in the defence of the Jewish population

    from Arab attacks. The poem mentions the Sicarii the zealots of the revolt

    against the Romans in the first century CE.

    Israel Affairs 149

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • And let us not forget Zeev Jabotinskys poem The East of the Jordan, which

    contains lines that for many years constituted hard currency in the world of

    symbols of the political Right in Israel:

    Two Banks has the Jordan this is ours and, that one as well.From the wealth of our land there shall prosperthe Arab, the Christian, and the Jew,for our flag is a pure and just oneit will illuminate both sides of my Jordan.My two hands I have dedicated to you, homeland,my two hands for scythe and shield.But let my traitorous right hand whitherif I forget the East Bank of the Jordan.31

    Written in 1929, The East of the Jordan is one of the eight Zionist political

    anthems by Jabotinsky which entered the national pantheon. These poems

    repeatedly appear as quotes in speeches to this very day.

    While Jabotinsky and Grinberg represented the Right, Alexander Penn

    represented the left side of the political map. He revealed his opinion regarding

    the poet enlisting his work in support of social and political struggles in an

    article entitled I have stood upon the throat of my poetry, published in Kol

    Haam (The Voice of the People), the Israeli Communist Party journal. Penn

    wrote: There are times and periods in the class and peoples war, when a poet

    must stand upon his personal poetry, to suffocate and suppress it, since the

    ideological-essential struggle that engulfs the world these days demands

    maximal ideological alertness from every artist, author, and poet.32 He

    borrowed the idea for the articles title from the Georgian-born poet Vladimir

    Mayakovsky, the raging bull of Russian poetry. In his poem At the Top of

    My Voice, Mayakovsky wrote:

    I subduedmyself,setting my heelon the throatof my own song.33

    Protest poems

    In these poems the authors express their opinions on social or political matters,

    usually out of rage, frustration, discontent, criticism, revulsion, or a desire to

    warn or to defy. Protest poems call for defiance against institutions, authorities,

    social sectors, and men of power or wealth, or in order to preserve values and

    revive social norms. An example of a protest poem is Israel Elirazs The Wars

    Have Passed Here. The poem was published in 1984, while battles were raging

    in south Lebanon between IDF forces, deployed in the area since the war began in

    1982, and Shiite militias and local forces. Eliraz, under the nom de plume George

    Matya Ibrahim, wrote:

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur150

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • The wars have passed here and did not move the figThat marks a square of burning field for meafter me, holding my clothes and I mineand you come to me.What sounds like wind is wind and whatseems like blood is blood and the stone forever bestone even if grass is under it or sea,put your hand on me.I face the narrow opening torn in the valley through which,walks the one I wish to followknowing: always, one of us will be taken,and the one who will come, already came, already left.34

    This poem expresses the pain of unending wars that repeat themselves. The

    fig planted in the disputed soil represents the calm days during King Solomons

    rule as described in the Bible: And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man

    under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of

    Solomon (1 Kings 4:25). Eliraz protests at the futility of the wars that come and

    go one after the other, and wishes for a narrow opening to be rid of them, but in

    the end falls into them. The final line: and the one who will come, already came,

    already left, as well as the repetition of the word already, points the reader to

    Ecclesiastes 1:910: The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that

    which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

    Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of

    old time, which was before us.

    In his poem I Protest, Arie Sivan makes double use of the meaning of the

    word protest: (A) as an expression for resistance, objection, rebellion, and

    disagreement; and (B) as an expression of deletion, causing to forget, or

    removing something from consciousness or memory. The poem opens with the

    words:

    I wipe the dust from my bookswith a small tricot shirt, an old shirtbelonging to my son. We have more dust in this years summer, its composition isalso different:plaster crumbs and whitewash are mixed in itmaybe from the houses that were blown up.

    Later on, Sivan invokes the memory of Joseph and his multicoloured coat,

    so hated by his brothers: And when his brethren saw that their father loved him

    more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto

    him (Genesis 37:4). In this poem, Joseph is not just the son of Jacob, one of the

    Jewish nations forefathers, the dreamer from biblical Shechem who dreamed

    that his brothers sheaves were bowing before his sheaf, and who was sold by

    his brothers to Ishmaelites from the Gilead: he is a Palestinian boy from Nablus

    (Shechem), occupied since 1967.35 The father of the Palestinian boy could cry,

    Devoured was Yusuf, just as Jacob lamented in the biblical story about his son

    Joseph. Sivans protest, which began with wiping dust using his sons shirt,

    Israel Affairs 151

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • quickly became a defiant cry against the blasting of Palestinian homes and

    against shooting a boy that became human dust, creating dust lines on the sons

    old shirt.

    Poems aimed at spurring and urging social or political action

    These poems are aimed at spurring and urging social or political action,

    behaviour, or thought according to a proposed outline, in reaction to political

    processes and political expressions; their language is clear and the call to action

    appears in practical form. One example of such poems is Alex L.s I am Telling

    You My Son, discussing the 1982 LebanonWar and urging its target audience to

    doubt the visions of the eyes and the illusions of the heart:

    The cherry trees at the bottom of the mountains and the pipsthat here are not the color of blood, my sontheir sweetness is not in the sweetness of the cherry. My son,do not let its feigned stickiness to mislead. Whatyou saw is not what you saw, my son.

    The poem ends with the call:

    Now that I am facing the mountains, my son, Iam telling you do not believe them. Iam telling myself what I cannottell you.36

    In another poem, Yitzhal Laor takes a saying that was later imprinted in the

    public memory, from a song by Ehud Manor, who lost his younger brother

    Yehuda Weiner in the 196870 EgyptianIsrael War of Attrition, and inserts it

    as an appeal in his poem The Wicked, What Does he Say. In this poem, whose

    title also carries a historical charge from the Passover Haggadah, Laor calls

    directly to the reader, while disengaging himself from those who create wars,

    indicating that this is their war, not his, or ours:

    My young brother, Elijah,before you go to the next war, thinkabout the previous one or I shall tell youhow your mothers father pulled out his teeth so he will not goto their war. My young brother Elijahdo not go to their war.37

    By adding possessive pronouns to the noun war Laor distinguishes himself

    from the state whose elected officials embarked on the war. Putting himself

    outside the state, with which he is in conflict, he equates the 1982 Lebanon War

    with the First WorldWar, which his grandfather wished to avoid by extracting his

    teeth and getting a discharge from recruitment to the army of Tsar Nicholas II.

    Later on, in his poem Will, Laor calls on his son to avoid going to their army,

    their war, and again emphasizes this by using possessive pronouns:

    My son. I do not want to lament over you or to make speeches in your nameThat is chiselled in marble. My son, my only son whom I loved, do not goto their army, to their war. Do not be tempted.38

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur152

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • Poems aimed at warning the readers

    These poems are aimed at warning the readers, while there is still time, of certain

    social or political catastrophes that might befall as a result of conduct perceived

    by the poets as wrong. In The Soldiers Hit the Road Yona Wallach interweaved

    military motifs and myths taken from the public discourse and, while negating

    them to ridicule, weaved from them a poem that alerts from the danger:

    The soldiers hit the roadthey went nowherein the same place, abouta terrible thing awaits.

    In these lines, Wallach indulges in polemics with Naomi Shemers poem The

    Soldiers Hit the Road:

    The soldiers hit the roadon a long journey on footthey advanced without fearsinging at the top of their voices.

    Later on, Wallach specifically names that terrible thing:

    The soldiers are coming from abovefrom the celestial sidethey are always going furthertowards the earthly grave.

    Wallach concludes the poem with a warning:

    They are always pulling downwardTowards the abysmin the air a bird already swoops downit will dine without a napkinThey will comethrough the tomorrowthey will singthe same old thing.39

    Poems that portray past events, figures, narratives, symbols, and situations in anew light

    The authors of such poems, though wishing to stimulate their readers to confront

    their own attitudes, might undermine cultural and moral conventions about

    reality, mainly from a moral standpoint. Therefore, contrasting or comparing

    events might give political significance to processes the poet wishes to bring up in

    public discourse. For example, in his poem This Fool, Isaac, Laor raises

    questions regarding the story of the sacrifice (Genesis, 22:119), complaining

    against the biblical Isaac who, in his naivete and humility, made the trek from the

    Negev to Mount Moriah, where he was destined to be sacrificed. He did not raise

    his hands against his father, fight him, or stop him from placing him on the altar

    and trying to kill him with a knife. At the end of the poem, Laor mentions

    Abrahams treatment of Ishmael, who is perceived as the father of the Arab

    Israel Affairs 153

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • nation, using the reference within a textual combination from Deuteronomy

    (25:17): Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way. This reference

    relates to the moral and political aspects of animosity between nations. Laors

    poem was written at the height of the Lebanon War, while news reports poured

    from the front regarding the deaththe sacrificeof soldiers:

    To pity the offering? To command a donkey?With such obedience? To sacrifice from the Negev to Moriah?To trust such a father? Let him kill him first. Let him imprison his fatherhis only father Abraham in prison, in an almshouse, in the house cellar, as long as hedoes notslay. Yitzhak, Yitzhak, remember what your father did to your brother Ishmael.40

    Published in Davar newspaper on 25 November 1983, Laors poem was

    presented in theKnesset byMKHaimDrukman (after he left the ReligiousNational

    Party) in a session that discussed the damage caused by theatre plays to the

    fundamental values of Judaism, the people, and the state. Drukman described the

    binding of Isaac as a symbol of the devotion of the Jewish people along the

    generations that served as an educational role model for all those who worship God

    along the generations. In the same session, he said the following about the poem:

    Unbelievable. The paper tolerates this abomination.However, canwe tolerate it?41

    The poem Night of War 4 was written at the beginning of the Gulf War in

    January 1991, while Iraqi surface-to-surface missiles were landing in Israel. It was

    still unclear whether these missiles were carrying chemical warheads or not. In the

    poem, Ilan Sheinfeld compared the classic anti-Semitism and the Hitlerian killing

    machine; mentioning Zyklon-B gas; the accursed land of Europe; the words s the

    mask makes you free, reminding the reader of the sign saying work makes you

    free, placed over the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp; and the partisans, and

    Saddam Husseins soldiers, whom he called Allahs barbarians. In his words:

    History repeats. The mask liberates. The Patriotis no longer a partisan, but a defensive missile.Anti-Semitism is still alive and workingin Eastern Europe, as well as under the cover of antipathy to Zionismin the Arab states. The dictionary knows. Man forgets. The blooddoes not make up for it . . . 42

    Poems examining the existence of the self in the public arena

    While sharing with their readers their most personal experiences and reflections,

    the authors of these poems break through the personal and private framework and

    stimulate discussions and questions regarding common issues that appear on the

    public agenda and take part in the competition over the publics concern. These

    poems reach the public arena from the private desks of poets. The contemporary

    poet and political activist Adrienne Rich emphasized in her works and public

    events that the personal is political. As one who worked extensively to promote

    recognition of womens rights, Rich emphasized that even a personal struggle for

    the right to have an abortion, for example, places personal issues at the centre of

    the political arena. The same goes for the struggle against beauty contests.43

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur154

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • The poem Only Twenty Years Old was written during the War of Attrition

    by Gideon Rosenthal after the death of two of his friends, and about three years

    before he himself was killed in the Yom Kippur War. He wrote:

    I am only twenty years old; I am only twenty years old.If I live to be eightyI have sixty more yearsit is possible to educate twenty great-grandsonsand build another state.[ . . . ] There are people dying when they are still younghow foolishnot in bed, but actually by bulletshow foolishfor parents whose lives will be bitterhow foolishthey die when they are only twenty years old, when they are only twenty years old.44

    In his poem A Gentle Confession Nathan Zach moves between the personal

    and the social and between the footsteps of time and the generations and between

    politics:

    I was born to be gentle. It so happensthat my parents decided that they must emigrateto a non-gentle country. They were not rashthey consulted whoever they could. Even Hitler supported the decision;said it was definitely wise.So a man born to be gentle arrived in a non-gentle country.

    At the end of the poem, he adds:

    Its all a mistake, they said, some terrible mistake. As for meI content myself with crying out in my sleep. What do you think,will it help?!Dont make me laugh. I am a serious man.And were I not cursed by the generation, and I mean my generation,I would have given you a smashing answer, but perhaps not so gentle.45

    Poems praising certain actions in society with a view to creating role models

    These poems, which represent various exemplary acts, might take part in the

    competition for societys values in a similar fashion to ritualistic rhetoric whose

    goal is unifying the public and fostering common values and symbols in order to

    ultimately influence it with identification processes. An example is Nathan

    Altermans poem Mother, May I Cry Now? that tells of a young Holocaust

    survivor who reaches the Land of Israel as an immigrant. The poem was

    published in Davar in October 1945, after its author heard the story of Abba

    Kovner, one of the fighters of the Vilnius Ghetto. The heroine of the story and the

    poem leaves her hiding place when the horrors of the Holocaust stop and asks:

    Mother, May I Cry Now?Yes, my child, yes thin arms.Yes, now it is allowed to cry.Yes, an angel with plucked eyelashes and hair,

    Israel Affairs 155

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • yes, now it is allowed, it is allowed.The night is already calm and clear,uncle Joseph Kremer left already,the radio already counted and numbered,what they did to you, tormented lamb.

    Alterman moves from describing the childs suffering at Nazi hands to the

    present abuse at the hands of the British, the mandatory power for Palestine in

    192048, who severely restricted Jewish immigration in contradiction of the

    Mandates term, preventing many Jews attempting to flee the rising Nazi danger

    from reaching Palestine and settling there:

    You are walking along a heroes pathand your gown is torn to shredsbut the nations history is written!You will arrive on a stormy night,but you will arrive! So help us the almighty!The laws that turned against youwill be torn like the shreds of your gown!Lads determined as a fistwill carry you in their bosoms to the shoreand your arms around their necksin front of seventy parliaments and a sea.And in your eyes the joy will celebrateand the law will defeat the law,and a star from above will bear witnesshow you tore the sea again.46

    Sometime before the proclamation of the State of Israel on 14May 1948, while

    battles were still raging and Jewish fighters and civilians were dying, Haim Gouri

    composed his poem The Comradeship. Several lines in the poem express values

    and attitudes that were dominant among the fighters and the Jewish community at

    large. As soon as they appeared in public, these linessome individually and some

    in chunks became symbols by which several generations were educated, until an

    alternative ethos to the culture of sacrifice for the general good, fellowship of

    warriors, and memory of the fallen, emerged. The Comradeship is an example of

    poetry that extols a social and national value and sanctifies it. It is possible that the

    poem would not have been given such a clear political charge were it not for the

    connotation it received since the early 1970s with the conceptual changes in the

    values that were expressed in it; its adoption by the IDF as one of its core values;

    and the fact that the defence system chose the line we will remember them all as

    a central phrase in the remembrance of the fallen in the wars of Israel.

    Poems deemed as political by their readers

    These poems are given political overtones that match the image of their authors,

    as well as their political and social status. The poetry-reading public tends to

    examine their internal logic in reference to their acquaintance with the poet and

    his/her public image. Even if the poems and the metaphors in them are not

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur156

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • intended to be so, these works become political in the eyes of the readers. These

    poems, which more than once are tied to the political world in readers

    subconscious do not comply with literary critic Frederick Jamesons assumptions

    regarding the linguistic representations of attitudes and the flattening of the

    meaning of metaphors, directions, and identity representations.47

    After the June 1967War, Dahlia Ravikovitch wrote the poem Dotan Valley,

    which was composed and sung by the Northern Command Band. In the poem,

    Ravikovitch described the glorious bravery of Lieutenant Gad Rafan, a tank

    platoon commander who received the medal of valour for his actions in battle,

    and of Private Zvi Sadan, a tank driver who received the medal of gallantry.

    Ravikovitch wrote in detail the story of the battle between the armoured brigade

    and Jordanian forces:

    And then the armour was hit and engulfed in flamesand the nine wounded were trapped in itthere heroes have fallen from armour and scythein the Dotan Valley.

    Looking back over the years, from a perspective of familiarity with

    Ravikovitchs work, even her later works, the words and ideas expressed in the

    poem seem to deviate from her worldview and from what is expected of her.

    Battles and heroic stories are far from the image of the pacifist poet, a member of

    the Shinui party, who identified with the pain of the Palestinians. Her poem

    What is Going On?, which also deals with war, responds to this image and

    matches Ravikovitchs ideological impression. Reading the poems one after the

    other might leave the reader wondering: were the Dotan Valley and What is

    Going On? written by the same poet?

    This is what she wrote in the poem What is Going On?, which appeared in

    her third book:

    Everything is swirling in an avalanche of colourstimes turn over,and again, private Malka is guardingwith his personal weapon and two grenades.May he live, private Malka.No more citations.No more heroic stories.A little bit of contentmentfor private Malka and his seven brothers.48

    Another example is Yehuda Amichais The PlaceWhereWe are Right. This

    poem deals with the infrastructure for the growth of social struggles that creates

    wars. In Amichais words:

    From the place where we are rightflowers will never grow in the spring.The place where we are rightis hard and trampledlike a yard.But doubts and loves dig up

    Israel Affairs 157

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • the worldlike a mole, a plow.And a whisper will be heard in the placewhere the ruinedhouse once stood.49

    The publics acquaintance with Amichai and with his humanistic opinions

    resulted in many lines of his poems being adopted by speechwriters and used in

    various public events; some even appeared in a book titled The Place Where We

    are Right that collected various works, including representations and images of

    this sentence in literature, poetry, and playwriting.50 In his book Facing the

    Ruined Village, Haggai Rogani suggested a political perception of the poem:

    Since 1948, the destroyed home in the collective Israeli consciousness is not

    only the Temple, but also the Palestinian home. The whisper expresses, perhaps,

    the feelings of guilt bubbling from the depths of the collective

    unconsciousness.51 Rogani argues that Amichai confronts in the poem the

    relative Israeli justice with the values of morality and humanity. In his opinion,

    the metaphor of justice trampling lands is related to the gloomy prophecy in

    Isaiah 1:12, addressed to the sinful leaders of the nation: When ye come to

    appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?

    Conclusion

    Poetry moves between centrifugal forces that focus readers attention inwards,

    towards the lyrics, and centrifugal forces that relate to the social, cultural, and

    political climate in which the poems are published. These movements reflect the

    power of poetry, which enriches, through the use of language, the public

    discourse and provides individuals and groups with interpretations regarding

    reality and their surroundings.

    The test of political poetry is not necessarily its influence in practice or the

    actual changes in the perceptions of its audience. In A Typical NO Poem, Zach

    voices his credo as a poet whose weapon is the word no, which allows him to

    serve as a kind of prophet, a social compass, an alternative to materialism and an

    atmosphere that does not coincide with his values and expectations:

    Because perhaps we have no time to uproot a mountainand perhaps we did not come here to uproot mountainsbut we have a little time to write poemsabout the great privilege to be hereabout the great privilege to say NO.52

    The flow of political messages from poets enriches the public discourse and

    sometimes even steers it to new spaces, new morals, and original paths of

    thinking. Indeed, poets cannot control the thoughts that arise in the minds of their

    readers about the linguistic messages in their poems. In addition, readers do not

    always agree with the authors of the works they read or hear, and their judgments

    are not consistent with those of poets. Yet poets have undoubtedly great value in

    both the contemporary marketplace of ideas and the historical memory archives.

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur158

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • Notes on contributors

    Assaf Meydani is an Associate Professor in the School of Government and Society at theAcademic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo.

    Nadir Tsur is Affiliated Researcher at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for theAdvancement of Peace, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Visiting Fellow at theChaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy at Ben-Gurion University.

    Notes

    1. We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves,poetry. William Baker Yeats, Anima Hominis (1918), in Mythologies (London:Macmillan, 1959), section V, 331.

    2. Uri Zvi Grinberg, Streets of the River (Tel Aviv: Shoken, 1951).3. Plato, Politeia, Book 1, 6, Works of Plato, trans. Yosef Liebes (Jerusalem: Shoken,

    1968).4. Yeats, Anima Hominis, 3312.5. Plato, Politeia, Book 1, 6; Gorgias, Encomium of Helen (Bristol: Bristol Classical

    Press; Edition: C. Rowe, 1982).6. Abraham Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation, Psychological Review 50

    (1943): 37096.7. Antonio Gramsci, Regarding Hegemony Selection from the Prison Notebooks [in

    Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Resling, 2004).8. William Gamson and Andre Modigliani, Media Discourse Public Opinion on

    Nuclear Power: A Constructionist Approach, American Journal of Sociology 95,no. 1 (1989): 137.

    9. Abraham Gavriel Yehoshua, The Wall and the Mountain: The Unliterary Reality ofthe Israeli Author (Tel Aviv: Zmora-Bitan, 1989).

    10. Jean-Paul Sartre, Situations II,Quest-ce que la litterature? (Paris: Gallimard, 1948).11. Plato, Politeia, Book 1, 6.12. Meir Wieseltier, An Optimistic Thing: Making Poems [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv:

    Zmora-Bitan, 1984).13. Meir Wieseltier, A Brief History of the Sixties [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Hakibutz

    Hameuhad, 1984).14. Natan Spiegel, The Wisdom of Greece [in Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Carmel, 1994).15. The poetry of emotion: love and loneliness, beauty and longing, joy, jealousy, prayer,

    death and admiration. The poetry is accompanied by a musical instrument the lyre,which is a type of small harp.

    16. Poetry with a plot that details the life and actions of a public or a group of historicalor mythical heroes.

    17. Ira Sharkansky, Governing Israel: Chosen People, Promised Land, and PropheticTradition (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2005).

    18. Michel Foucault, The Order of Discourse, in R. Young (ed.), Untying the Text(Boston: Routledge & Kegan, 1981), 5264.

    19. Nadir Tsur, Political Rhetoric Israeli Leaders in Pressure Situations (Tel Aviv:Hakibutz Hameuhad, 2004).

    20. Kendall Walton, Aesthetics What? Why? andWherefore?, Journal of Aestheticsand Art Criticism 65 (2007): 14762.

    21. Shimon Sandback, What is a Poem A Guide to Poetry [in Hebrew] (Jerusalem:Keter, 2002).

    22. David Avidan, Practical Poems [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Levin-Epstein, 1973).

    Israel Affairs 159

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • 23. David Fishelov, You Call this a Poem? Reflections on the Topic of the InstitutionalApproach to Defining Poetry, Jerusalem Studies in Hebrew Literature [in Hebrew](Jerusalem: Magnes, 1999), 17: 7797.

    24. Dani Hadari, Political Poetry 1984 [in Hebrew] (Ramat Efal: Yad Tabenkin, 1985).25. Meir Wieseltier, Letters and other Poems [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1986).26. Louis Althuser, Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (London: Monthly Review

    Press, 1971).27. Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology: on the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the 1950s

    (New York: Free Press, 2001).28. Dan Miron, Man is Nothing But . . . , Reflections on Poetry [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv:

    Zmora-Bitan, 1999).29. Yochai Oppenheimer, The Great Privilege to Say No: Political Poetry in Israel [in

    Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2003).30. Uri Zvi Grinberg, Poems [in Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1991), co. 2, part 2.31. Zeev Jabotinsky, A Tree Casts a Shadow in the Valley Zeev Jabotinsky and his

    Poetry, intro. Dan Miron [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: The Zeev Jabotinsky Order, 2005).32. Kol Haam, October 29, 1948.33. Translated by Emanuel Gellman.34. Israel Eliraz, Open Mountain [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Sifriat Poalim, 1984).35. Tal Nitzan (ed.),With an Iron Poem: Hebrew Protest Poetry, 19842004 (Tel Aviv:

    Hargol, 2005).36. Hannan Hever and Moshe Ron, Fighting and Killing without End: Political Poetry in

    the Lebanon War [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Hakibutz Hameuhad, 1984).37. Yitzhak Laor, BaShaar 6, 58 (July 1982).38. Yitzhak Laor,My Son will Stand [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Hakibutz Hameuhad, 2007).39. Wallach Yona, Wild Light [in Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Eichut, 1983).40. Laor Yitzhak, Only the Body Remembers (Tel Aviv: Adam, 1985).41. Knesset protocols, December 27, 1983.42. Ilan Sheinfeld, Temporary Poems (Tel Aviv: Tamuz, 1992).43. Hanna Safran, The American Connection: The Impact of American Feminism on

    the Suffrage Movement in the Jewish Community (191926) and the WomensEquality Movement in Israel (197182) (PhD diss., University of Haifa, 2001).

    44. Gideon Rosenthal, Oh Barbara the Prostitution of War [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv:Sifriat Poalim, 1975).

    45. Nathan Zach, Since I am Around [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Hakibutz Hameuhad, 1998).46. Nathan Alterman, The Seventh Column: First Book, 194253 [in Hebrew] (Tel

    Aviv: Hakibutz Hameuhad, 1972).47. Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act

    (New York: Cornell University Press, 1981).48. Dahlia Ravikovitch, The Third Book [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Levin-Epstein &

    Modan, 1970).49. Yehuda Amichai, Poems 19481962 [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Shoken, 1975).50. Eliezer Lederman and Menachem Mautner (eds.), The Place where we are Right:

    The Reflection of Law in Israeli Literature, Poetry, and Playwriting (Tel Aviv:Ramot, 2007).

    51. Haggai Rogani, Facing the Ruined Village: Political Attitudes towards the JewishArab Conflict in Hebrew Poetry, 19291967 [in Hebrew] (Haifa: Pardes, 2006).

    52. Nathan Zach, A Typical NO Poem [in Hebrew], Moznayim, November 6, 1982.

    A. Meydani and N. Tsur160

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Uni

    vers

    ity o

    f T

    exas

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 0

    9:05

    04

    Dec

    embe

    r 20

    14

    AbstractBetween politicians and poetsPublic discourse, political rhetoric, and poetryPolitical poetry and its typesPoems with clear political statements and direct ideological messagesProtest poemsPoems aimed at spurring and urging social or political actionPoems aimed at warning the readersPoems that portray past events, figures, narratives, symbols, and situations in a new light in the public arenaPoems praising certain actions in society with a view to creating role modelsPoems deemed as political by their readers

    ConclusionNotes