Admiel Kosman's first book to appear in English draws from all nine of his books of poetry that have been published in Hebrew, as well as new, unpublished work. His poems explore multiple tensions — between prayer and modern life, sacred texts and eroticism, language and translation, gender and identity — while also resisting the very nature of such categorizations. Approaching You in English includes an introduction by translator Lisa Katz that quotes extensively from an interview with Kosman, and an afterword by Shlomit Naim-Naor that explores some of the gender issues in his poetry.
In addition to his poetry, Admiel Kosman has published three scholarly volumes on gender and sexuality in traditional Jewish texts. Raised in an Orthodox home, he studied art at the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem, and later received a Ph.D. in Talmud from Bar-Ilan University. He teaches religious and Jewish studies at Potsdam University in Berlin, and serves as academic director of the Abraham Geiger Reform Seminary, the first Reform rabbinical college to open in Germany since the Holocaust.
Lisa Katz is the author of Reconstruction (Am Oved), and the translator of Look There: New and Selected Poems of Agi Mishol (Graywolf). Her poems, translations, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications; she works as a translator for the English edition of the Israeli daily, Haaretz. In 2008, she won the Mississippi Review Poetry Prize.
Shlomit Naim-Naor is the deputy director of Melitz, an educational organization in Jerusalem, and an international speaker on Israeli poetry, literature and Jewish texts. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Ben Gurion University and a BA in Philosophy and Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has written extensively about Kosman's poetry.
Approaching You in English, by Admiel Kosman
Approaching You in English
from Hebrew by Lisa Katz with Shlomit Naim-Naor
ISBN 978-0-9815521-4-9 (trade paper)
6 x 8
128 pages [bilingual Hebrew/English]
Listen to an interview with Admiel Kosman and Lisa Katz at the Jewish Daily Forward, December 2011.
Kosman knows how to craft humor, irony, many of the more refined tones—nothing seems to elude his poetic abilities. But despite Kosman’s exquisite exercises in tone and topics, the reader is drawn in above all because of this mysterious light: a strange sense of communication with something beyond, with something transcendent that is present in nearly all of the poems that make up Approaching You In English… Translator Lisa Katz has done a tremendous job… She has allowed new readers to peer, too, into the cracks and slits in the ceiling and connect with that something beyond.
—E.C. Belli, Words Without Borders