The voice on the page and how to bring it to life

“Irit’s workshops are intense occasions where time disappears in close examination of the language and intention of each text. We find her method improves our performance, but also – and more importantly – offers us a new way to approach redrafting our work. Her method is a brilliant critical tool. She is a serious and committed teacher who works herself and her students hard for great rewards. Can’t recommend her workshops highly enough.” Indian King Poets, Cornwall
Irit Sela offers a systematic reading method that lets the text itself reveal how it works, how it can come to life, bringing us face to face with the true meaning of each word and how those words fit the ‘score’ of the piece. By looking at the text from different angles and practicing each angle orally, then reassembling it, the tempo, rhythm, energy, as well as the choice of an interpretative stance, prevent generalization and cliché, while allowing poetic ambiguities to remain alive, effective and affective.
This method enables us to improve our ability to listen to each word while following the intention and energy of the train of thought which flows along a text, while retaining the lyrical quality and the integrity of sound and sense. Working with Irit Sela can help with performance, but more than that, it gives writers a new angle from which to appraise and improve their own work. Through bringing to life the speech activity that takes place within a text, sometimes elusive or invisible, she goes on to focus on the interaction between the written word, the reader and the audience.
This innovative method is useful to writers of poetry and literary prose in the writing process, as well as to actors and musicians in understanding and delivering poetry in performance.
You will need to bring all your energy and expect to come away exhausted but with many new ways of reading and enjoying the written word.

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Photo by Neta Alonim, courtesy of Bialik House

Irit Sela

An Israeli who spent some of her childhood in the USA

B.A. and  B.F.A. in Theater (1976) and an M.A. in Hebrew Literature (2006) – both from Tel Aviv University.
Currently in England,working with an editor on a book on this reading method, with poems written in English.

Theater – (as producer, director, stage manager, assistant director, lector and artistic advisor): La Mama Israel, Haifa Municipal Theater, Habima National Theater, Tsavta & Cameri Theater and Akko Festival(1970 – 1986).

Poetry – Founding co-editor of Helicon, Society for the Advancement of Poetry in Israel (together with poet Amir Or) in 1990.

Staff member (oral rendition of poetry) in Helicon Poetry Workshops – masterclasses for beginning poets at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem.

Founder (with Siham Daoud) of joint Arabic-Hebrew Poetry Workshops in 2001. Freelance poetry editor (including Elisheva Greenbaum’s “The Nape of Light” [Oref Ha’or] and “Front and Back,” by Vivian Eden) and translator of poetry from and into English.

Since 2001 is a member if Machsomwatch: check-point watch in the occupied territories in the West Bank.

Since 2003, for a decade, was Artistic Director (with Shmulik Noifeld and Eran Zur as Musical Directors) of a  Rimon School project: composing music to Hebrew poetry.

Teaches a particular method she has developed for reading poetry aloud, at Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, at the Helicon School of Poetry and at the theatre department of Tel Aviv University.

This method serves poetry writers as a tool in the writing process itself.  The method creates the oral rendition of a text through a deep, step by step understanding of how it works.