Robert Hass in Tel Aviv

Robert Hass
Hass

By TALI ARIAV
Contributing Writer

He was sitting in a Tel Aviv hotel lobby, just hours after he crossed the Atlantic, when he smiled at the Israeli journalist from the Jerusalem Post: “I’m interested in Israel because I think that, after St. Petersburg, it’s the place on earth I have read the most about without ever been there…that’s not excluding the Old and New Testaments.”

A two-time poet laureate and recent winner of the National Book Award, and visiting faculty member at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Robert Hass traveled to Israel in early January this year for the first time in his life. Hass was invited to Tel Aviv University to participate in an academic conference on the relationship between literature and the environment. This conference was entitled “Poetic Natures: The Environment, Literature and Arts.” Read more...



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Hass claims there are geographical and historical parallels between Israel and his native California; in his words “..both [Israel and California] are intensely remade agricultural landscapes.” With regards to writing and the authors of both locales, Hass finds more parallels between the two lands. “Another thing Israel and California have in common is that the writers are relatively new to the place. They are still finding a language for it and its weather”.

While Hass has been able to draw many interesting parallels between the characteristics of Israel and California, one important parallel cannot yet be drawn between the two lands. If Israel can someday achieve a lasting peace with its neighbors, its people may be able to attain the same peace enjoyed by the inhabitants of one of America’s largest states, one with the Pacific Ocean at its front door. Back to The Writing University homepage...

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