From Israel With Love

Hello Poetry Lovers,

It is a pleasure today to share something worthwhile from a friend in Israel.

Helen Bar-Lev is an interesting artist—she is both poet and painter, one whose work is hightly inventive and can charm young and old. She loves words and she loves images, and possesses the rare ability to create both.  She is also a skilled editor, one who reaches out way beyond geographical and cultural borders to others.  After numerous books of poetry, exhibitions and one-woman shows of paintings, Helen has three recent publications well worth noting here. All are published by Cyclamens and Swords Publishing, Medulla, Israel.

They are:



LOVE LETTERS: The Alphabet Falls in Love with Itself, 2014;

Canvas Calendar and In Moonlight the Sky Will Slide are both collaborations with others, but each in a different way. Canvas Calendar, for which Helen served as author, artist and editor,  is a seventy-seven page excursion through an entire year, remarkably with the words and illustrations of seven different poets and artists, each from a different part of the world, each sharing his or her own unique vision. Thus, in addition to Helen’s, we have the voices of  John Smelcer, poet of the Ahtna Tribe of Alaska, Lillian Cohen, living now in Australia, Katherine L. Gordon of Ontario, Canada, Luis Alberto Ambroggio, Argentinan-American, Robert Kihara of Kenya, and Mike Leaf, currently living half the year in Israel, half in Thailand.

Thus, we learn that in Alaska,

January and the sun is a memory…

Most living things huddle…*

Or in Canada,

April is so tender, casting green shadows on dissolving snow heaps… **

While in Thailand, in August,

The festival of the Hungry Ghosts that visit us from Hell

..burn paper money…

Whilst the Monsoon rages…***

Come December, in Kenya,

…We slaughter goats, roast them and enjoy hearty drinks…the year is a tortoise, slowing

covering miles step by step…****

And Helen herslf tells us that in Israel:

June is delicious

smooth as a peach

beautiful as a bride

a hybrid between seasons

yellow with acacia and broom

mellow in its temperment

plug up the clouds

don’t sit on the thistles

take stock of the hollyhocks…

It is difficult to convey the sweep of  this collection here. Suffice it to say CANVAS CALENDAR succeeds in bringing the reader a fascinating variety of pictures and poetic impressions, a year experienced fully, month by month, place by place.  

Finally, many people feel that poetry is not for them—not accessible, not relevant, not enjoyable. For them, and everyone, really, this collection is a way “in,” a highly entertaining, informative and often quite lyrical journey around the world.

Thanks for clicking in.

Click in soon again for reviews of  IN MOONLIGHT THE SKY WILL FALL and LOVE LETTERS.*


                                                                     xo Judy

 * all three titles can be ordered at:

In Moonlight: $10.

Love Letters-The Alphabet Falls in Love with Itself:  $15.

Canvas Calendar: $20.





Read more: The Jewish Chronicle - entry FROM ISRAEL WITH LOVE