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Sepharad as Imagined Community

Language, History and Religion from the Early Modern Period to the 21st Century

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Edited By Mahir Şaul and José Ignacio Hualde

This volume is a multidisciplinary contribution to Sephardic studies, including chapters by some of the best-known authorities in the field, interspersed with those of young scholars who have begun making their mark in current research. The text aims to enrich this emerging field through historical linguistic studies as well as investigations based on contemporary movements, recent literary creations, and the issues involved in contemporary revival.
 
The chapters presented in this collection include a selection of papers originally presented at the symposium “Sepharad as Imagined Community: Language, History and Religion from the Early Modern Period to the 21st Century,” as well as pioneering contributions by other key scholars. Two notable additions include innovative explorations of Judeo-Spanish on the Internet.
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Chapter Thirteen: Contemporary Judeo-Spanish Poetry in Its Rediscovery of the Past (Agnieszka August-Zarębska)

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Contemporary Judeo-Spanish Poetry IN Its Rediscovery OF THE Past

AGNIESZKA AUGUST-ZARĘBSKA

University of Wrocław



ABSTRACT1

This chapter focuses on the contemporary Judeo-Spanish poetry and aims at analyzing different manifestations of its rediscovering of the past. The subject of the discussion are poems written by Margalit Matitiahu, Avner Perez, Rita Gabbaï-Simantov, Gracia Albuhayre and Denise León, where their relation to the past—construed either as an individual history or the history of the community which the authors identify with—seems to be one of the crucial themes. It is accentuated that their approach to the past concentrates on three main motifs: recalling places, recalling people and recalling the mere sound of Ladino language. It is also claimed that the poetic expression in Ladino enables the authors to stay in closer contact with their roots and to include this experience in their self-understanding. The Judeo-Spanish contemporary poetry also turns out to be a means of the authors’ individual memory as well as contributes to constructing the collective memory of Sephardic Jews.

1. INTRODUCTION

My contribution concerns contemporary Judeo-Spanish poetry produced in Ladino2 since the 1980s, particularly by several authors chosen as representative. Since at the time they wrote their poems Ladino had already become an endangered language, these authors’ decision to write poetry in it must have been, and actually was, a conscious and meaningful act, whose...

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