RACHEL TZVIA BACK, poet, translator and professor of literature, has lived in Israel since 1980. Her poetry collections include Azimuth (Sheep Meadow Press), The Buffalo Poems (Duration Press) and most recently On Ruins & Return: Poems 1999-2005 (Shearsman Books). Her translations in Lea Goldberg: Selected Poetry and Drama (Toby Press) were awarded a 2005 PEN Translation grant. Back is the editor and primary translator of the English edition of With an Iron Pen: Hebrew Protest Poetry 1984-2004, forthcoming from SUNY Press. She lives in the Galilee, in the north of Israel.
"With grace and gravity, with a gentle, quiet tenacity, Rachel Tzvia Back brings the poetics of indeterminacy to bear on Israel's over-determined landscape. Her verse hurts as the land itself has been hurt: its rippling music is delicate and achieved, its evocation of intimacy stunning. As political as it is personal, Azimuth shows us again, how history and linguistic horizons meet, and who we are or might be before them."—Peter Cole
"Meditative as they are, with a syntax lapping at itself, the phrase terse but musical, the lines borrowing and extending a talismanic lexicon, with a quieter, parenthetical voice modifying the quiet, insistent voice, with meanings catching in the inflection of the silence, Rachel Tzvia Back’s poems are psalms on a journey. While Milton’s Satan finds in the lowest deep a lower deep, Back finds in shrouds of white silence and space that god follows. Rereading Azimuth, I felt (again!) the hair on the back of my neck rising."—Forrest Gander