Back from Oblivion: The Nature of 'Word' in Yona Wallach's Poetry

Zafrira Lidovsky Cohen


Yona Wallach (1944-1985) is both a major poet and an outstanding personality in the history of Hebrew literature. Challenged by the enigmatic nature of her poetry, literary critics tend to attribute its obscurities to the modernist and postmodernist milieu from which she emerged, deeming it essentially indecipherable. Presenting a close reading of two of Wallach's meta-poetic poems: "Precisely" (Bediyuk Nimrats), a four part poem from her 1969 collection Shenai Ganim (Two Gardens), and "Let the Words" (Ten la-Milim) that opens the 1985 collection Tsurot (Forms), this study exposes the traditional, essentially Romantic foundation of her work. It features Wallach's struggle with the enduring philosophical question pertaining to the origin of language and words' meaning while highlighting her deep-rooted faith in the inherently natural character of language and words' propensity to directly reveal the essence of things.

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