In the weeks leading up to the release date of Shut Down Strangers & Hot Rod Angels, I'll be featuring some of the pieces and authors here on the blog! Our tenth feature is Atar Hadari and his poem "Kansas."
Atar Hadari’s “Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik” (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award and his debut collection, “Rembrandt’s Bible”, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2013. “Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin” won a Pen Translates award and is out now from Arc Publications. He contributes a monthly verse bible translation column to MOSAIC magazine and is currently a Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholar in Theology at Liverpool Hope University where he’s writing on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy and the way it was edited to become the King James Version.
Which Springsteen song(s) inspired your poem?
Funnily enough, my poem 'Kansas' was inspired by Springsteen's 'Nebraska' as well as a few cross country drives delivering cars and hearing nothing but God and static on the radio in the middle of all those wheat fields.
What is it about these songs in particular and/or Bruce’s music in general that inspires you?
He writes an evocative lyric and without writing country, effectively writes a white, working class blues. His songs are not usually glamorous or about how cool he is, rather the opposite. Yet they remain catchy little ditties, a lot of the time.
What five Springsteen songs do you think everyone should listen to?
The River Dry Lightning Thunder Road Downbound Train Atlantic City
What’s your favorite line/section from this poem?
I remember driving back across Kansas those motels were just filled with light there were porches full of lightning bugs all the way along the State high road They had these paper lanterns out so they could gun us down That's what the lights was for.
Anything else you’d like to say, either about Bruce or about your poem?
He says somewhere that if you listen to Indpendence Day, My Father's House and I believe it was My Home Town in succession you hear somebody growing up. How many pop stars can you say it's possible to hear growing up?