Poet, translator and performance artist Noam Partom is a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s creative writing program, the Helicon Poetry School and the Rimon Academy for Jazz and Contemporary Music. She is the recipient of the 2015 Israeli Culture Ministry Award for Emerging Poets and the 2014 Ramat Gan Award for a debut poetry book.
In ‘Women’s talk’, she addresses the most famous woman poet of the 20th century, as one of thousands of fans:
Many have by now written to you, and I am no better than they.
But, if I may, I wish to disrupt your rest one last time
To talk about Ted.
I too have a Ted.
and bluntly advises:
. . . never, not ever, can you embrace him to your heart's content.
(You must think such great longing is a virtue)
But Sylvia, forgive me,
[ . . . ]
We are idiots.
We are both such terrible idiots.
With regard to Israel’s most taught and iconic ‘national’ poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik, Partom takes the sexually predatory atmosphere of a poetry reading in his house, a Tel Aviv venue now used for literary evenings, to an obvious but generally unspoken direction:
How many of you sexy poets want a round for five shekels? Ahem,
I mean, pardon –
How many of you want a round for five minutes of fame
On this black glistening plastic podium, on the moist grass, expertly mown,
Here in the garden of our great national
In 2010 Partom launched an online video poetry project: Poetube. Journalist Yuval Ben Ami has noted that the proliferation of poetry on the Internet is due – not only to the medium’s popularity – but also to the difficulty of publishing poetry, usually an unprofitable venture. Israel’s somewhat draconian laws on book pricing, meant to protect authors from reduced royalties, makes that even harder. Nonetheless, Partom’s Leh-havir et hamayim bah-esh (Setting the water on fire), published in the autumn of 2012, is now in its third printing. Her 2014 Hebrew translation of Shel Silverstein’s posthumous book of poems and drawings for children, Every thing on it, has been placed on the prestigious IBBY Honour List of best books for young people.
Partom tours in a show based on her poetry with musician Yonatan Cnaan.
Leh-havir et hamayim bah-esh (Setting the water on fire). Xargol/Am Oved, Tel Aviv, 2012
Shel Silverstein. Hakol beh-haf-nuko (Every thing on it). Modan, Tel Aviv, 2014
Video of ‘Contraceptive poem’ in Hebrew, with English subtitles
‘La lengua del bridge’, Partom’s poem in Spanish translation by Cristina Rivera Garza
Op-ed by Partom, ‘I want to raise children here’, in Hebrew
An hour-long radio interview with the poet, in Hebrew
The poet’s Youtube channel
Gilad Meiri on Partom’s ‘Poetry of the extreme’
An interview with Haaretz
Sponsored by POETRY PLACE