My Beautiful Ballooning Heart: poems by Janice Silverman Rebibo Paperback – 18 Jul 2013
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About the Author
Janice Silverman Rebibo, a Massachusetts native and native English speaker, is the author of four previous books of original poetry written primarily in Hebrew and a volume of popular Israeli poetry that she translated to English. Critics have called Rebibo’s work a bold blend of two imposing literary traditions and a strategic breakthrough that added something new to the war of independence of Israel’s consciousness. For over two decades, her Hebrew poetry was published and reviewed widely in Israel’s major newspapers and literary journals. Today, her English poetry is accessible in print anthologies and online journals originating in Israel and the United States. For her fourth poetry collection, Zara Betzion [A Stranger-woman in Zion], Gvanim Tel Aviv, Rebibo received a President of Israel Award and the Israel Lottery Commission’s Cultural Award, as well as the Steiner Prize from Hebrew College. Within the Song To Live, translations of poet Natan Yonatan, is now in its third printing, Gefen Jerusalem/New York. Rebibo’s poem "My Beautiful Ballooning Heart" was nominated by Muddy River Poetry Review for a 2012 Pushcart Prize. She is the Soul-Lit featured poet for summer 2013.
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Poems by Janice Silverman Rebibo
Review by Zvi A. Sesling
One of my favorite poets is Charles Simic and I have never read anyone quite like him until I opened Janice Silverman Rebibo's My Beautiful Ballooning Heart. Whereas with Simic one does not always know if a specific poem is about him, someone else or fiction, with Rebibo's work it is quite clear the poems are biographical. And for added praise, let me add James Tate and Wyslawa Szymborska as references to her poetry. Many of the poems in the first section are about loves and lovers. The choice of names is interesting. First there is Rob, is this his real name of did he steal something of hers - years, valuables, what? The second is John. Saint or sex partner? There are also a Barry, Artis and Martin and a few others tossed in. The poems provide answers, though they may not have the same meaning for you they have for her. That is the wonderful mystery of her poetry.
On several pages there are "Four Poems for Old Lovers" starting with [I am quoting only excerpts from each poem here.]
1) Oh My Goodness There's an Old Lover:
Oh my goodness! There's an old lover
sitting under the trees
on those folding chairs I hate
at the Silky Way Café.
You know, the wooden ones with slats
that might collapse or at least tip over
ungracefully on the gravel
around the round tables
that aren't too stable. Will I say hello?
Throughout her poetry Rebibo reveals an intriguing sense of humor. Check out 3) Lunch with the Last One, where even capital letters in the title reveal something:
When you stroked my arm
on the second floor of that big restaurant
it made me so angry.
We have a history
of good sex
of which I would rather not be reminded.
Past and present meet on the pages in ways few other poets have been able to express. But do not mistake these for magical poems, they are not. These poems are about the real - good, bad, obsessive, and despite the author's claim to have forgotten, these prove nothing has been forgotten.
There are moments in which the reader gets a quick lesson in life:
How to Ask for What You Want
How about a bowl of soup
Could it be that simple, this
And you may receive
There is also the poem I wish had ended the book [here I quote the poem in its entirety] called After This Mysterious Moment with You:
Even after this mysterious
here with you
Cast off this or that convention
Exalt sporadic gestures of my brain
I remain the daughter of my parents
friend of my lovers
friend of my friends
You will see the final poem, nonetheless, is also an appropriate finish, and when you finish this book you will feel awe for the person who wrote it because she has laid her beautiful ballooning heart before you.
Zvi A. Sesling
Reviewer for Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene
Publisher, Muddy River Books
Author, King of the Jungle (Ibbetson Street Press, 2010)
Author, Across Stones of Bad Dreams (Cervena Barva, 2011)
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 7
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 8
The full version of this review first appeared in the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene