(photo credit: courtesy)
Tel Aviv-based Helicon, the association for the advancement of poetry in Israel, kicked off its sixth Sha'ar Poetry Festival last night with a lecture on gender issues in the Talmud, a multi-artist exhibition, a video art presentation, musical performances and plenty of readings by local actors and poets.
Twelve poets from overseas are attending. Among these are France's Karine Martel; India's Tachom Poyil Rajeevan; Greece's Haris Vlavianos; and The Czech Republic's Alexandra Buchler. Some of Israel's leading verse experts are contributing as well, including Amira Hess, Hanna Abu Hanna, Nurit Zarchi and Lior Sternberg.
Sha'ar comes on the heels of Jerusalem's International Poetry Festival at Mishkenot Sha'ananim, which ended Wednesday. The two series serve as counterparts, with the Jerusalem one's more traditional style contrasted with the Tel Aviv's inclusion of more edgy content and multi-disciplinary performances.
For today's Far East-themed proceedings, Prof. Yuriya Kumagai is to report on contemporary Japan's cultural scene, at 10 a.m. in a lecture entitled "The Land of the Rising Poetry." Chinese poet Yang Lian's review of Poetry in the Shade of the Great Wall follows.
A free-admission, festive Kabbalat Shabbat service, complete with readings and a movement performance by the Klipa theater company, is set to take place at The Emanuel Church at 4:30, kicking off the night sessions. In addition, each night of the festival includes musical performances at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Highlights include an Arab Galilean ensemble tonight at 10:30 and the 18-year-old Night Birds rap duo Saturday at 8:30.
For more information, tickets and a full schedule, visit www.helicon.org.il or call (03) 560-0122. Most events are to be held at the Hebrew-Arabic Theater, on Rehov Mifratz Shlomo 10, next to the Turkish bath facility in Old Jaffa.