For Immediate Release

Poetry magazine presents “Lives of the Dead”

September 8th, 2010

CHICAGO — Poetry magazine is proud to present a theatrical interpretation of Hanoch Levin’s epic poem “Lives of the Dead,” translated from the Hebrew by Atar Hadari.

A deeply macabre and wickedly funny “anti-elegy,” Levin’s rumination on death, decomposition, and the afterlife is at once flagrant and tender, graceful and perverse. The poem, says translator Atar Hadari, is “a look at death by someone who very much did not believe in the ‘afterlife,’ but nevertheless saw and expressed all the hopes which even the most irreligious keep in the deepest, most secret closets of their hearts.”

Directed by Valerie Jean Johnson (managing editor of Poetry), a talented ensemble of young Chicago performing artists bring Levin’s captivating poem to the stage.

What: A theatrical interpretation of Hanoch Levin’s “Lives of the Dead,” conceived and directed by Valerie Jean Johnson, devised and performed by Katie Eberhardy, Joshua Kent, Martine Moore, and Jessie Mutz, with sound design by Noé Cuéllar

When: Eight performances
Thursday, September 30, to Sunday, October 10
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7pm
Sundays at 3pm

Where: Viaduct Theater
3111 North Western Avenue
Free admission; reserve tickets by calling 773.296.6024 or visiting

Hanoch Levin (1943–1999), one of Israel’s leading dramatists, was born in Tel Aviv and studied philosophy and literature at Tel Aviv University. Having originally focused on writing poetry, Levin eventually devoted himself to writing for the stage. He served as resident playwright of the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv and worked with Habimah, Israel's national theater. A writer of 50 plays (34 of which have been staged), including comedies, tragedies, and satiric cabarets, Levin directed most of his works himself. He published five books of short stories and poems and a book for children, received numerous theater awards, both in Israel and abroad (most notably at the Edinburgh Festival), and has had his plays staged around the world. Levin was awarded the Bialik Prize in 1994.

Atar Hadari was born in Israel, grew up in England, and studied poetry and playwriting with Derek Walcott at Boston University. His Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of Hayim Nahman Bialik (Syracuse University Press, 2000) was shortlisted for the American Literary Translators Association Award. His poems have won the New England Poetry Club’s Daniel Varoujan Award and the Grolier Poetry Prize.

Hadari’s translation of Levin’s poem was first published by Poetry in May 2009.

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About Poetry
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume 1 of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every major contemporary poet.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

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