Poetry by Yoel Hoffmann
Translated by Peter Cole
Yoel Hoffmann’s Curriculum Vitae is the remarkable summation of the writer’s life: his escape from the Holocaust; his arrival in Palestine; time in an orphanage; youth; two marriages; fatherhood; his studies of Japanese Buddhism; his travels; his ever-busy inner life. Curriculum Vitae begins quietly but becomes more and more hypnotic and amazing. Funny, gorgeous and utterly unique, Curriculum Vitae is Yoel Hoffmann’s triumphant look backward and inward: How stupid we are to let the world toss us from one place to another, while we need to speak to dentists and poets like warehouse clerks who keep an account of old equipment (bags here and belts there) and pile it up on the floor. What do we remember? The lake at Biwa and the houses across it. The cherry blossoms and Auschwitz, Treblinka, Maidenak . . . . “Hoffmann,” as The Chicago Tribune put it, “is not just a good writer but a great one, with the ability to find, in the moment-to-moment dislocation of daily existence, epiphanies of revelatory force . . . What Hoffmann has achieved is a kind of magic.” Hoffmann has also been hailed as “miraculous” (A. B. Yehoshua), “spectacular” (The New Yorker), “radiant” (World Literature Today), and “stunning” (The New Leader).