I grew up in Floral Park, New York, studied literature and “intellectual history” at Cornell amid the tumult of the late sixties, went to Israel for a year and stayed for twenty. Looking for my identity, finding identities of others.

For grace and occasional equilibrium, I am drawn to cultures farther east, where I have never set foot. Practicing tai chi in Massachusetts, I situate myself in a random north south east west. I stand on one foot. I anticipate tottering, I totter, I regret having tottered. Over and over, though I work on being where I am in a state of constant change. I’m skeptical of grafting cultures, but need to borrow, to shift the frame of reference, in fact, to upend. So as to assume nothing. Lest what? I value green and growing things, empty space, spareness, the beauty of the used, not-quite-consistency of whole and parts. Silence. 

Silence and solitude, but I have meaning only among others, and with words—writing, editing, translating. Journalism, briefly as a New York Times assistant, then at the Jerusalem Post, later at the Boston Phoenix. Editing, finally at the Harvard Art Museums, hoping to produce materials with a longer shelf life; there too I felt for edges where the verbal and the visual meet. Hebrew to English was a way of translating one of my worlds into another, to reconcile, integrate. Lately I am upended in France. Silence? The written word is not noisy, though I’ve been told my poems are. Maybe chewy is more like it. I’d prefer chewy.

Marsha Pomerantz, Chérence, France