Poetics Of Protest: Trans-Nationalism In Israeli Anglophone and Hebrew Lyric Poetry
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This dissertation argues that twentieth- and twenty-first century Israeli Anglophone and Hebrew lyric poetry written by women challenges monolithic forms of nationalist discourse, ethnic and religious identity, and the institutionalization of collective memory formation by uncovering the systematic erasure of counter-narratives. The project investigates the writings of Israeli poet-activists Dahlia Ravikovitch (1936-2005), Tikva Levy (1960-2012), Rachel Tzvia Back (b.1960), and Karen Alkalay-Gut (b.1945), who have been marginalized or misread as a result of their gender, ethnicity, or language-choice, as well as their political standing. It demonstrates how these poets write from within in order to resist the sovereign body they innately belong to, in contrast to traditional indigenous reactions, whereby authors “write back” to colonial empires. “Poetics of Protest” is among the first projects to comparatively introduce Israeli Anglophone and Hebrew poetry to the fields of lyric studies and postcolonialism. Just as Israeli poetry is effaced in the canon of postcolonial literature and criticism, so the political dimension of the lyric, and particularly the Israeli lyric, is effaced from the new lyric criticism. Through archival work and translations, the dissertation argues that Israeli Hebrew and Anglophone poets use innovative forms and disjointed formal and temporal structures, while blurring the origin of voice, to disrupt and challenge the way collective memories are perpetuated via commemorative acts. As a result, the lyric poem transforms into a performative space that revisits the birth of the nation – when subject and “other” were simultaneously created. The project calls for a new literary methodology in order to shift from postcolonial theory to anti-colonial praxis. These lyric poems encapsulate the nationalist aspirations of two people who claim one land, giving rise to a new poetic paradigm called “the trans-national lyric” – a form that houses multiple subjects in one, shared poetic space.