Maya Bejerano (b. 1949)

Maya Bejerano/מאיה בז’רנו‎ (b. 1949) was born in Israel to parents who had immigrated from Bulgaria. She published her first poem in 1970. She is quite prolific in Hebrew. In 2005, she published an anthology of work that runs to 424 pages (Haaretz story; ads are annoying, but story is interesting.) Little is available in English, however.

The Hymns of Job is offered in English translation (no Hebrew) from BOA Editions.* Here’s what BOA says about her work:

Like many poets of her generation – first generation after WWII – Maya was born in Israel to immigrant parents (from Bulgaria). To a large extent, the poetry of these poets gives expression to two states of consciousness, one of existential apprehension inherited from their immigrant parents, and one of a wild sense of freedom and liberation. Most of these poets spoke a different language at home, and their encounter with Hebrew was often bewildering, but also invigorating. A lot has been said about the sepulchral weight that Hebrew has had to carry, but in Israel today the Bible and the “mekorot” (sources) are an integral part of everyday life and speech. Biblical references and allusions are commonly heard and used side by side with new slang words, and with locutions and technical terms borrowed from the English. This fusion of high and low, of the colloquial and the archaic, makes for interesting and exuberant juxtapositions, both in the language spoken on the street and in the poems. Bejerano’s work typifies this fusion and takes it to new and unique levels.

*This publisher offers a number of bilingual poetry editions, with English translations of Hindi, Polish, and other languages as well as Hebrew: Erez Bitton‘s You Who Cross My Path.

A few additional resources:

Page at Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature.
“Maya Bejerano’s poetry lab – Israel in Translation” at TVL1

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