Helen Bar-Lev, IL



Global Correspondent Report From Israel

Events In Review

It is the time of the year where the weather suddenly goes from summer to winter, even though there should be some sort of autumn, but never is, here in Israel. Submissions to the 2008 Voices Israel Anthology are now closed and we have over 480 poems to consider. Most scores of the editorial board are in and it is interesting to see how different poems speak to different people. This year there are five members on the editorial board and myself, the humble editor-in-chief. Johnmichael is doing the technical part of getting the book into printable form.

For us this past year has been quite strenuous. As you know, we moved up to the northern-most town in Israel, Metulla, at the end of January. We are right on the border with Lebanon and see houses, vehicles, from our kitchen and bedroom windows. It is a most amazing place. Johnmichael Simon won first prize in the Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for a poem on this subject, On the Border, and I won a high distinction award in the same contest for a poem entitled Night in the North. Johnmichael's health was not the best this year and he had to have surgery in July. He is doing very well now, so well that we spent two weeks in South Africa in mid-October in the Capetown area. He was raised there and it was pleasant and exciting to have him as a guide. We also had two books published this year: Cyclamens and Swords and Other Poems About the Land of Israel, poems by both of us, illustrated throughout in colour with my paintings and drawings, and John's book, Sonatina, with poems mostly touching the topic of music in its different forms—a few of my illustrations here too; both books were published by Ibbetson Press, Somerville, Ma, USA and may be ordered from us for US$18.00 including shipping, and also through Lulu.

When time and health permit we continue to attend monthly meeting of Voices Israel in Haifa. The group varies in size from 10-15 poets. We sit around a table, each person reads two poems and a critique is given. One or two poems are chosen to appear in the monthly newsletter Voices publishes. Just a week ago we attended our first bi-monthly meeting of poets in the Upper Galilee region, which is closer for us than Haifa but still takes a bit over an hour. This is a group which has been meeting for ten years at the home of Lila Julius, originally from Canada and a wonderful poetess. Each person reads one piece and the rest comment verbally and in writing on the copy of the poem/short story and pass it back to the poet. It is very professional and we are very happy indeed to have been included in this group. There are about ten members.

For now that is all. The exciting news next month will be the announcement of the winners of the Reuben Rose annual contest, of which Doug Holder is the judge this year. There will be several workshops, one a two day workshop in a hotel in Netanya, lectures in two different Universities, the Awards Ceremony of course, in Tel-Aviv, and an evening of poetry reading in Jerusalem. Doug Holder will also be here one day and we will have people over to read their poetry and hear his critique. I shall report it all next month, tho all this takes place at the end of the month and we may not make it for publication by then.

All the best and a very happy holiday season to all, Helen

Helen Bar-Lev, Artist, Poet
Voices Israel Anthology


Read free verse by Helen Bar-Lev







to the top