Agis, Derya. November 30 – December 1, 2006. “Discovering the Jewish Self of Richard Fein in His Poetry.” Bilkent University, Department of American Culture and Literature, Faculty of Humanities and Letters, Ankara, Turkey.

  • 87 views
Uploaded on

Agis, Derya. November 30 – December 1, 2006. “Discovering the Jewish Self of Richard Fein in His Poetry.” Bilkent University, Department of American Culture and Literature, Faculty of Humanities and …

Agis, Derya. November 30 – December 1, 2006. “Discovering the Jewish Self of Richard Fein in His Poetry.” Bilkent University, Department of American Culture and Literature, Faculty of Humanities and Letters, Ankara, Turkey.

More in: Education , Technology
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads

Views

Total Views
87
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0

Actions

Shares
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0

Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
    No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 1 Discovering the Jewish Self of Richard Fein in His Poetry Presented by: Derya F. Agiş (Hacettepe University)
  • 2. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 2 Conference: “The Self in North American Culture: Comparative Perspectives” Department of American Culture and Literature Faculty of Humanities and Letters Bilkent University 30 November and 1 December 2006 (Conference sponsored by Bilkent University and the United States Embassy)
  • 3. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 3 1. INTRODUCTION • In this study, I analyze three poems written by the North American poet Richard Fein from a Cognitive Poetic perspective. • These poems are ‘Abraham’, ‘A Yiddish Poet Who Was Never Born Speaks to Me,’ and ‘I have seen…’. • The poems were chosen from this book: Fein, R. J. (1994).Fein, R. J. (1994). At the Turkish BathAt the Turkish Bath.. Towson, Md: Chestnut Hills Press.Towson, Md: Chestnut Hills Press.
  • 4. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 4 2. ON COGNITIVE POETICS • Literary works are the productions of the mental processes of human beings. • The Israeli philologist Reuven Tsur suggested that literary critics could refer to the theory of Cognitive Poetics for interpreting poems, which are the products of human cognitive processes. • He laid the foundations of this theory in his book entitled Toward a Theory of Cognitive Poetics, published in 1992.
  • 5. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 5 Continued • Tsur (1992: 232) proposes that the literal utterances are based on the SCRIPT, or the COGNITIVE SCHEMA that they instantiate. • For this reason, each metaphorical description of an object depends on a script, or a cognitive schema, thus, a representation formulated in the human mind, recalling the characteristics of the object.
  • 6. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 6 Continued • Tsur (1992: 207) proposes that a theory of metaphor must satisfy four requirements of adequacy, which are listed below: 1. to define metaphors structurally, 2. to explain how human beings understand metaphorical expressions, 3. to depict the relationship between this process and the process via which human beings produce and conceive literal discourse, 4. to describe the relationship between these processes and the perceived effects of metaphors. • The semantic information processing model consists of a hierarchical one of “meaning components”, “features”, or “semantic primitives” (Tsur, 1992: 207). • These components can be defined through the processes of cancellation, indicated by a minus, multiplication, indicated by a plus, symbolization, abstraction, allusion, spatio- temporal continuity, richness of conceptual categories, the existences of a spiritual space, and ryhmes (Tsur, 1992).
  • 7. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 7 3. ON RICHARD FEIN • “Richard Fein lives in Cambridge, MA. His latest book, I Think of Our Lives: New and Selected Poems (Creative Arts Book Co.) was released in 2002. His previous collections are Kafka’s Ear, winner of the Maurice English Award, At the Turkish Bath, To Move Into the House, and Ice Like Morsels. He has also published a memoir, The Dance of Leah; a book of translations, The Selected Poems of Yankev Glatshteyn; and a critical study on the work of Robert Lowell” (from: Asherville Poetry Review, vol. 10, num. 1, Contributors Page. Available at: http://www.ashevillereview.com/v10n1/contributors.php).
  • 8. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 8 4. ON ‘Abraham’
  • 9. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 9 Continued • “According to the Bible, Abraham (or Abram) was the father of the Hebrews. The Biblical account of the life of Abram is found in Gen. xi. 26 to xxv. 10. According to this narrative, he was the son of Terah and was born at Ur of the Chaldees. Terah, with Abram, Sarai [Sarah] (Abram's wife), and Lot (Abram's nephew), left Ur to go to the land of Canaan; but they tarried at Haran, where Terah died (Gen. xi. 26-32). There the Lord appeared to Abram in the first of a series of visions, and bade him leave the country with his family, promising to make of him a great nation (ib. xii. 1-3), a promise that was renewed on several occasions” (Mendelsohn, Kohler, Gottheil, and Toy, 2002).
  • 10. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 10 Continued Abraham was tested ten times: 1. King Nimrod put him in a hot furnace, 2. God wanted him to leave his country, 3. As there was famine, he emigrated again, 4. His wife was held in Egypt by the king, 5. He had to fight with four kingdoms to save Lot, 6. God envisaged him that the successive generations would be slaves in foreign lands, 7. The command of Berit Mila (circumcision) was given to him, 8. Sarah, his wife, was kept in a place by Avimeleh, 9. He had to chase Hagar and Ishmael, and 10. He was ordered to sacrifice his favorite son Isaac; as he passed all these tests, he is an example to all the Jews (ctd. in “Asara Nisyonot..... 10 Test,” 2005).
  • 11. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 11 4.1. FEATURE CANCELLATIONS AND ADDITIONS • [+NOUN -COUNT -HUMAN -ANIMATE -CONCRETE -REAL +BELONGING TO THE SLEEP (#darkness)] • [+NOUN -COUNT -HUMAN -ANIMATE -CONCRETE -CONTEMPORARY +MENTIONING STRANGE TRIBES + MENTIONING STRANGE PLACES (#history)] • (formulated in the human mind)
  • 12. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 12 4.2. FRAME AND SPIRITUAL SPACE OF THE POEM • In the frame of the poem, the poet says that he fell asleep, and dreamt of fighting in a desert just like Abraham. • In the spiritual space of the poem, the poet appears as a figure tired of fighting, like Abraham, the father of Judaism; the poet implies that he has been studying on Biblical stories, and he entitles his poem ‘Abraham’ for emphasizing that he is Jewish.
  • 13. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 13 4.3. SPATIO-TEMPORAL CONTINUITY • The poet refers to the period in which Abraham lived and fought against the pagans. • The spatio-temporal continuity relations: • Clamor of quarrels, scorch of sacrifice, heat of desert, clatter of scavengers, hilltops, altars => existed in the time of Abraham • Knots of smoke, climbing from a furnace, burning lamp, strange tribes, strange places => today • He uses the simple past tense in each sentence: “I scared away,” “I fell asleep,” “I kept running…,” “I put up…,” “I left,” and “I opened my eyes…” • He implies that he has been talking about the past.
  • 14. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 14 4.4. RHYMES • In this poem, just the last words of these lines are rhyming: the seventh and the fourteenth; the ninth and the twelfth; the sixteenth, the twentieth, the twenty-second and the twenty- third. • This system indicates that the poet was dreaming about a Biblical and historical scene that Abraham lived; but finally, he woke up and admits that these historical facts are strange for him, and are depicted in the books of History.
  • 15. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 15 5. ON ‘A Yiddish Poet Who Was Never Born Speaks to Me’
  • 16. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 16 5.1. FEATURE CANCELLATIONS AND ADDITIONS • [+NOUN +COUNT +HUMAN +ANIMATE +CONCRETE +RESIDENT AT PERETZ INSTITUTE +YIDDISH SPEAKER -BORN (#Yiddish poet)]
  • 17. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 17 5.2. FRAME AND SPIRITUAL SPACE OF THE POEM • In the frame of the poem, the poet imagines to talk to a Yiddish poet, who lived in New York, Brussels, and Tel Aviv where Yiddish is spoken. • In the spiritual space of the poem, the poet imagines to be invited by a Yiddish poet to teach at Vancouver Peretz Institute, famous for its success in Jewish Studies, and to create good works.
  • 18. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 18 5.3. SPATIO-TEMPORAL CONTINUITY • In the first verse, the poet uses the simple past tense for depicting a successful Yiddish poet. • In the second verse, this imaginary poet offers him to teach at a recognized institute. The sentence “I’ve brought you a dybbuk T-shirt” implies that the Yiddish poet is so sure that he will receive a positive answer from him.
  • 19. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 19 Continued • In the third verse, the present tense is used, and by using “let’s...” and “see”, the Yiddish poet invites Fein to work together in a friendly manner. • In the last sentence of this verse of the poem, the future tense is employed in the subordinate clause, for implying that the poet would be glad to work with the Yiddish poet, as he would create great works with a great mind.
  • 20. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 20 Continued • The spatio-temporal continuity relations: • Benches of upper Broadway, diamond trays in Brussels, bus lines of Tel Aviv, a stray dog of a cabaret (farblondzhener hoont) -> past • Peretz University / Institute -> present • Fulbright, Henry James, and T.S. Eliot, dybbuk T-shirt -> suggestion for the future
  • 21. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 21 Continued • Voznesensky? • “Andrey Andreyevich Voznesensky born May 12, 1933, Moscow, Russian S.F.S.R.: Soviet poet who was one of the most prominent of the generation of writers that emerged after the Stalinist era” (Voznesensky, Andrey Andreyevich. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 30, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9075772).
  • 22. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 22 Continued • Ginsberg? • Allen Ginsberg: “American poet (b. June 3, 1926, Newark, N.J.-- d. April 5, 1997, New York, N.Y.), was the poet laureate of the cultural movement in the 1950s whose members were known as the Beat Generation, disaffected antiestablishment writers whose lifestyle embraced alienation, nonconformity, and, often, drug use” (Ginsberg, Allen. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 30, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9114713). • The Golden Chain (in Yiddish “Die Goldene Keyt”) is a Yiddish literary journal, published in Tel Aviv. • Malcolm X (1925 - 1965) was a Muslim fighter for human rights (see Malcolm X. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9050305). • Simon Dubrov (1860 - 1941) was a Russian-Jewish historian and social activist (Groberg, 1993: 71).
  • 23. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 23 5.4. RHYMES • The rhyming words are few in the poem. The last words of the eleventh and the fifteenth lines, the third and the sixteenth lines are rhyming, suggesting the hope of Fein for a great success in his writings about the Yiddish culture.
  • 24. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 24 6. ON ‘I have seen…’
  • 25. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 25 6.1. FEATURE CANCELLATIONS AND ADDITIONS • [+NOUN +COUNT -HUMAN -ANIMATE +CONCRETE -COLD +LICKS OF FLAME (#Yiddish words)] • [+NOUN +COUNT -HUMAN -ANIMATE +CONCRETE +BIRDS WITHOUT A HOME (#Yiddish words)]
  • 26. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 26 6.2. FRAME AND SPIRITUAL SPACE • In the frame of the song, the poet indicates that Moyshe Kulbak wrote mystical satires, inspired by his Jewish spirit. • In the spiritual space of the poem, the poet depicts his will to hear words in Yiddish, belonging to the language of his ancestors.
  • 27. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 27 The poet writes this poem after the death of Moyshe Kulbak • “Moyshe Kulbak (1896-1940?), was a Yiddish language writer, born in Smorgon (Belarussia) to a Jewish family. He studied at the Volozhin Yeshiva in Lithuania” (Moyshe Kulbak. (2006). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moyshe_Kulbak ).
  • 28. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 28 Continued • “Moyshe Kulbak wrote poems, fantastical or "mystical" novels, and, after moving to Soviet Russia, what are described by one source as "Soviet" satires. But his novel, The Zelmenyaners, depicted with some realism the absurdities of Soviet life. In 1937, during the Stalinist purges, Moyshe Kulbak was deported to an internment camp, where he died in 1940. His mystical novel, The Messiah of the House of Ephraim, draws together many strands of Jewish folklore and apocalyptic belief, presenting them from a perspective that owes much to German expressionist cinema. It principally concerns the poor man Benye, who may or may not be a Messiah, and whose destiny is intertwined with the Lamed-Vovniks. (In Jewish mysticism, the Lamed-Vovniks are a group of 36 holy Jews on whose goodness the whole of humanity depends.) Benye, and the many other characters, undergo experiences the strangeness of which approaches incomprehensibility, to themselves as well as the reader. Legendary figures such as Lilith and Simkhe Plakhte are characters in the novel” (Moyshe Kulbak. (2006). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moyshe_Kulbak).
  • 29. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 29 6.3. SPATIO-TEMPORAL CONTINUITY • The poet uses the present perfect tense in the sentences where he associates Yiddish words with licks of flame and birds without a home in order to imply that he is Jewish. • Moyshe Kulbak’s words were like fire, as he was Jewish, and he was choosing appropriate and effective words; and his words were like birds without a home, as he was Jewish, and his art was very impressive. Kulbak was kept in a camp and died there. • In the last sentence he uses the present tense “longs” with the metonymy of heart, the store of emotions for explaining his desire to write Yiddish poems talking about the Holocaust, the Genocide, and the pains of the Jews. • The poet wishes to express his Jewish origin in his works. ‘Birds flutter’ in the air for finding a shelter; the poet wants to host these, as these are the words through which he can express the pains of the Jews.
  • 30. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 30 Continued • The spatio-temporal continuity relations: • Flame <=> fire => satires of a Jewish writer • Birds fluttering in air => mystical satires of a Jewish writer
  • 31. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 31 6.4. RHYMES • The first and the third sentences end up with written rhyming words ‘flame’ and ‘home’; phonologically, these words are not rhyming, though. This alludes to the strong desire of the Jews to find a stable home in a fixed place, on the one hand. On the other hand, this demonstrates that the works of Moyshe Kulbak were attractive, like fire. • However, the words ‘fire’ and ‘air’ are rhyming phonologically. This alludes to the termination of the human life, as Moyshe Kulbak passed away.
  • 32. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 32 7. CONCLUSION • The three poems of Richard Fein demonstrate his Jewish identity. • When they are analyzed from a cognitive poetic perspective, this fact is understood better. • Cognitive Poetics is an excellent tool for analyzing the reflection of the identity of the poets to their works.
  • 33. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 33 8. REFERENCES • Asara Nisyonot..... 10 Test. (2005). In Sevivon. Retrieved November 15, 2006, from Sevivon: http://www.sevivon.com/yasamvedeger/pirkeavot/yorum5_04.asp • Asherville Poetry Review, vol. 10, num. 1, Contributors Page. Available at: http://www.ashevillereview.com/v10n1/contributors.php • Fein, R. J. (1994). At the Turkish Bath. Towson, Md: Chestnut Hills Press. • Ginsberg, Allen. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 30, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9114713 • Groberg, K. A. (Feb., 1993). “The Life and Influence of Simon Dubnov (1860- 1941): An Appreciation”. Modern Judaism, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 71-93. • Malcolm X. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9050305 • Mendelsohn, C., Kohler, K., Gottheil, R., and Toy, H. C. (2002). “Abraham.” Available at: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=360&letter=A&search=abraham
  • 34. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 34 Continued • Moyshe Kulbak. (2006). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moyshe_Kulbak • Tsur, R. (1992). Toward A Theory of Cognitive Poetics. Amsterdam, Londra, New York, Tokyo: North Holland.
  • 35. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 35 Continued • Voznesensky, Andrey Andreyevich. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 30, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9075772
  • 36. Friday, December 1, 2006Derya Agis 36 THANK YOU! For questions: deryaagis@gmail.com