Yehuda Amichai :if you meet the devil, take him with you into the synagogue

INTERVIEWER

What is the relationship between your politics and your poetry?

Yehuda Amichai

AMICHAI

First of all, whoever reads my poetry could never arrive at fundamentalist, absolutist thinking. If someone is attracted to my poetry, he or she is attracted to all of the metaphoric background that I throw up against violence. Dealing with political realities is part of what we need to do to survive as normal human beings. You have to acknowledge political realties as they are. There’s an old Jewish saying: if you meet the devil, take him with you into the synagogue. Try to take the evil of politics into yourself, to influence it imaginatively—to give it human shape. This is my attitude toward politics. I’ve often said that all poetry is political. This is because real poems deal with a human response to reality and politics is part of reality, history in the making. Even if a poet writes about sitting in a glass house drinking tea it reflects politics.