Part of: Poetry Translation Workshops 2018: January - March Season Pass Translating the Hebrew ‘Ars Poetica’ poet Roy Hassan with Micha Meyers
The Poetry Translation Centre
We will explore poems by contemporary Israeli poets belonging to the ‘Ars Poetica’ movement. The name is a pun on a Hebrew slang word derived from Arabic, meaning 'pimp', with connotations of white trash. The plural ‘arsim’ is used to describe working class Mizrachi Israelis who originate from North Africa and the Middle East. These poets align themselves with the Mizrachi movement, a radical departure from the Russian, French and Anglo-Saxon literary traditions that have been dominant in the past.
There is no need to know the language being translated, just come along!
Roy Hassan was born in Hadera in 1983, a Mizrachi, lower-class development town. He was a cook during his military service and in civilian life afterwards. His work was not intended from the outset as a rebellion against the elitist Ashkenazi, left wing political and literary establishment, but recognised as such by the media, such as the cultural supplements of newspapers like Ha’aretz. Hassan himself has said on blogs and in interviews that he writes for his father and his neighbours, not for poetry lovers or academia. He says his inspiration comes from New York hiphop like the Wu Tan Clan, jazz and the films of Jarmusch and Pasolini, as well as the Israeli Mizrachi singer Ofer Levi. He received the Bernstein Prize for young writers for ‘The Dogs That Barked In Our Childhood Were Muzzled’ (2014). He says he has learned from American hiphop to impose on his texts the ‘jagged beats and fragments of audio from records from the 50s to the 90s and sounds from the environment where they and I grew up’.
Micha Meyers is a secondary school teacher and translator who lives in Hackney, London. He studied at University of East Anglia (UEA), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Groningen. He is a regular participant at the PTC’s poetry translation workshops and this is the first time he has provided bridge translations.
Clare Pollard is an award-winning poet and the editor of Modern Poetry In Translation. As a writer, Clare is very concerned with bearing witness to the times in which we live. Her work has frequently engaged with contemporary concerns. Her third collection Look, Clare! Look! (2005) was made a set text on the WJEC A-level syllabus. Her latest collection is Incarnation (Bloodaxe, 2017).