John Paul II Foundation / Magazine / Conversations / Jerusalem Where Poets Fly

Jerusalem where the Poets fly

         Such a title will not seem strange in regard to the holy city, where fly ... prophets, patriarchs, the Messiah, The Virgin Mary, the Apostles and a thousand other holy figures of early Christianity. They fly in the vast sky, sometimes clear and limpid, other times hazy, tragic and sad. This stands to signify the unique importance of the city of Jerusalem around which History was born and also the legend that corroborates the story even more. "The world is like the eye: the sea is the white, the earth the iris, Jerusalem the pupil and the image reflected in it is the temple." This is an aphorism from Judaic tradition that stands for the centrality of Jerusalem.

          Over his sky has flown a great literature whose origins go back to the pages of the Old Testament, and then continue to the present day. Impossible to make a synthesis.

I take my cue- briefly- from my volume Jerusalem Where Poets Fly (Pazzini editore, 2013) by dwelling on names of contemporary writers who have lived through the drama of post-World War II Israel: Abraham B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Amos Oz. The most important and decisive literary trio in Israeli literature who in one way or another enter the heart of the city of Jerusalem: the city of Grace and Sin, Word and Words, Peace and Violence. This is how the three writers describe it.

Yehoshua in novels such as Mr. Mani, the human resources manager, The Diary of a Cold Peace. Harsh, sometimes violent, strong novels in which humanity is tested by tragic events; it is a journey into the undercurrents of the city where darkness is also moral.

Grossman in the pages of Someone to Run With, The Lamb's Smile, The Running Man lingers in the web of a series of adventures: the disorder of a city he had previously only imagined and then gradually touches.

While for a character in Amos Oz , Hannah, this "(Jerusalem) is not a city, but an illusion...sometimes you get the impression that the city does not exist. Jerusalem is a mysterious city, even if you were born there and have lived there all your life." This is the theme that the Israeli writer develops in The Same Sea, A Story of Love and Darkness, Life Rhymes with Death.

The complexity of the city of Jerusalem is much more evident in the reality and imagination of writers such as the three mentioned and others as well.

Vincenzo Arnone: is a priest in the diocese of Florence. With a degree in modern literature from L'Università La Sapienza in Rome, he works on literary and religious themes in non-fiction and fiction. As part of the 1989-92 Florence Diocesan Synod, he edited the Synod Group of Florentine Writers.


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