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READING FROM RIGHT TO LEFT
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: Green, Jeff
Date: Mar 5, 1993
Start Page: 28
Section: Books
Abstract (Document Summary)

Sivan has spent his life teaching Hebrew and is a consulting member of the Hebrew Language Academy. His book offers a brief and lively history of the revival of Hebrew and numerous articles about words and expressions that are used and misused in spoken Hebrew today. Sivan's approach is anecdotal rather than systematic, and his book is entertaining, in the spirit of the brief language shows on the radio.

TODAY THE language is so secure and self-confident that a Hebrew poet can bring out a book with a Yiddish title and no one bats an eyelash. Pinchas Sadeh's latest collection of verse, published by Schocken, is called Ikh Zing Vi a Faigale ("I Sing Like a Bird"). The title comes from a dream which he evokes in the last poem of the collection: "If only I could, if only I could return to the dream that I dreamed just before morning./ A young girl, lovely with a strange beauty, sang in a landscape of light. And she was my mother./ But in my memory nothing remains but the words: Ikh zing vi a faigale./ Ikh zing vi a faigale. Ikh zing vi a faigale. I sing like a bird."

Others are written in response to reading, like the poem about Greek poet Konstantine Kavafis, which ends with the question: "What's it to him now if people read him. Articles that they write about him. In the grave/ There's no love, no warmth, no life. In the grave there's nothing." Sadeh's writing is more accessible than most of the poetry in Hadarim, though three of the poems in Ikh Zing Vi A Faigale were also published there. Sadeh wants to give his writing the appearance of being tossed off. But sometimes it's harder to write simply than abstrusely.

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