by Idra Novey

“Everything that can/ leaves the Earth”

Israeli poet Agi Mishol’s first collection in English, Look There, (Graywolf Press, $14) offers a vision of Israel that both speaks to and resists the images that appear regularly on the news. In her poem “Olive Tree,” Mishol writes of a road junction with a planted tree that is likely uprooted from a Palestinian farm bordering on an Israeli settlement. The original Hebrew verb kheesoof used to describe the tree’s removal, as translator Lisa Katz explains in her introduction, calls to mind a verb from Israeli military speak often used on the news to mean “cleared away.” In the English version, Katz makes do with the word “shafted,” but the potency of the original comes through, as it does throughout Katz’s translation in this luminous collection.

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