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Two TWL Episodes Now On YouTube: Rita Dove and Israeli Poems of War and Peace

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Rita Dove discusses a musical life in verse

In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, Rita Dove, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and former National Poet Laureate, speaks with Maryland Poet Laureate Stanley Plumly about her latest book, Sonata Mulattico. The book tells the story, through multiple narrative poems in different voices, of George Bridgetower, an Afro-Polish child prodigy violinist who studied with Haydn. Beethoven dedicated a sonata to Bridgetower, “my crazy mulatto,” but later quarreled with him over a girl, and shunned him. Bridgetower fell into anonymity. The book is long and complex, Dove says, but “This is the only way to encompass this life and make it seem not a curiosity, but an essence of humanity.”

Israeli Poems of War and Peace

In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life, poet and professor Michael Collier talks with poets Moshe Dor and Barbara Goldberg about their 1997 book of Israeli poems and translations, After the First Rain: Israeli Poems on War and Peace. Goldberg reads her translation of Ariel Kaufman’s “How My Brother is Cain,” and Dor reads the Hebrew version. Goldberg reads six more poems from the collection, including Amir Gilboa’s “My Brother Was Silent,” with the final, haunting line, drawn from the book of Genesis, “His blood cried out from the ground.” Goldberg concludes with a poem that sums up the Israeli desire for a long-coveted peace, Yehuda Amichai’s “Wildpeace.” This program was recorded in 1999.

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