The Heroine’s Journey of Adeena Karasick

Lovely piece about poet Adeena Karasick, who I recently interviewed as well for the Jewish Independent.

The Heroine's Journey

What is the best thing that I love about my work? That no matter where i am in the world, language is a landscape to live in.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? On the page or on the stage when i am at one with the words

What is my greatest fear? Immobility

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Impulsivity. Hedony. Obsessiveness

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? All my language-focused colleagues, mentors, teachers, heroes, friends, warriors, who are challenging borders, power structures in the face of enormous cultural political and aesthetic adversity, controversy, outrage; and with commitment to transgression and at times anarchic intervention, continue to fight through their language.

What is my greatest extravagance? Taking great risks with the work

On what occasion would I lie? When sitting is not an option

What is the thing that I…

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Leonard Cohen on 2017

ISRAEL, AND YOU WHO call yourself Israel, the Church that calls itself Israel, and the revolt that calls itself Israel, and every nation chosen to be a nation –none of these lands is yours, all of you are thieves of holiness, all of you at war with Mercy. Who will say it? Will America say, We have stolen it, or France step down? Will Russia confess, or Poland say, We have sinned? All bloated on their scraps of destiny, all swaggering in the immunity of superstition. Ishmael, who was saved in the wilderness, and given shade in the desert, and a deadly treasure under you: has Mercy made you wise? Will Ishmael declare, We are in debt forever? Therefore the lands belong to none of you, the borders do not hold, the Law will never serve the lawless. To every people the land is given on condition. Perceived or not, there is a Covenant, beyond the constitution, beyond sovereign guarantee, beyond the nation’s sweetest dreams of itself. The Covenant is broken, the condition is dishonoured, have you not noticed that the world has been taken away? You have no place, you will wander through yourselves from generation to generation without a thread. Therefore you rule over chaos, you hoist your flags with no authority, and the heart that is still alive hates you, and the remnant of Mercy is ashamed to look at you. You decompose behind your flimsy armour, your stench alarms you, your panic strikes at love. The land is not yours, the land has been taken back, your shrines fall through empty air, your tablets are quickly revised, and you bow down in hell beside your hired torturers, and still you count your battalions and crank out your marching songs. Your righteous enemy is listening. He hears your anthems full of blood and vanity, and your children singing to themselves. He has overturned the vehicle of nationhood, he has spilled the precious cargo, and every nation he has taken back. Because you are swollen with your little time. Because you do not wrestle with your angel. Because you dare to live without God. Because your cowardice has led you to believe that the victor does not limp.

Poem 27 from “The Book of Mercy” (1984)