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Before There Is Nowhere to Stand

Palestine | Israel: Poets Respond to the Struggle

Edited by Grace Beeler and Joan Dobbie

Introduction by Alicia Ostriker


Appalled by the violence of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Gaza in 2008-09, Joan Dobbie and her niece Grace Beeler, descendants of Holocaust survivors, issued a call for poems by writers of “Palestinian or Jewish heritage . . . for an anthology that strives for understanding . . . in the belief that poetry can create understanding and understanding can dull hatred.”

This book is a tribute to resourceful imaginations. Its purpose is to give readers an occasion to perceive the aspirations and passions of those whose lives have been affected by the struggle–in Joseph Conrad’s words, “to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.”

The poems are arranged in seven sections, each dealing with an attribute or phase of the Palestine-Israel struggle. When possible, selections alternate between Jewish and Arab authors, effecting dissonance in subject, emphasis, and attitude–an uneasy multiculturalism.

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“At this time in history, nothing could be more important than the voices of poets who fulfill a noble intention. War is in the headlines and on the news. These poets are the connective tissue of the hearts and souls involved.”–Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books, Fall 2012

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