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In Conversation with Author Tali Cohen Shabtai

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

A fearless and cathartic approach to writing!

1. What suggestions would you give to people who aspire to write? Are there specific areas to highlight?

There are no specific areas to emphasize - this isn’t a request program, there is no pre prepared script that will tell the beginning writer what subjects to write about or die to emphasize! And this is unequivocal!

  • Yes, I have insights with every sinew in my body that I would love to be generous to novice poetry writers.

First: Avoid worship and mention of the most banal term in poetry: "poetics" because, as I wrote about it:

“Poetics is not


to predefined audiences,

let alone those who worship it.”

In my humble opinion, on a subjective and universal tone:

“Poetics have few ways of embodiment:

In their heads when I was born a woman

with breasts, genitalia and ovaries.”

  • Also do not be fooled:

“A third of God does not converse with


even with Him I do not share company.”

  • The world of writing is a highly competitive world, and it can be tedious and tiring in the execution involved in the transition and process of the beginning poet between anonymity and having his poetry regularly published in the public domain.

In this passage the writer who aspires to publish his works must first acknowledge the fact that he will see dozens of doors slams along the way.

It should sometimes be noted that flattery, or “sucking up,” is a statement - it is a pattern of misjudgment. This is how the selection works between shredding and binding (a page).

This means that the poet must refrain from the habit of flattery in order to be published, nor is it usually personal. The filtering of poets also has a political and hierarchical aspect.

  • You should know that there are "cursed" poets not necessarily in the image of the “tormented artist” but as a poet who did not receive recognition either from individuals or the general public during his lifetime, but in his death as I wrote about.

The writing will receive an anatomical essence, cannibalism will analyze every word that remains.

Also, don't go astray after everything.

  • Acknowledging the pulse in your hand is not a thesis to anyone.

Maintaining individualism and individual opinion:

As a poet, I confess that I am an extreme case that gives a broad expression solely according to my opinion and rationalism, and according to the ideal that I build in my writing for my poems of a very personal nature, and this provokes quite a few controversies, only to be faithful to the poet that I am.

And for this I wrote to my readership:

I love being myself

I do not flow continuously

in the water

that you

are now sipping

I shock your


until the body cries

to vomit

Don't hesitate to stay yourselves!

  • If you dream of publishing through writing I suggest that you check again whether it is better to specialize in a field that you do not need to aspire to but you have the talent naturally, and here I will share at the end a piece that I wrote:

“She told me “I want to break through” -

“I want to be a poet”

‘You can't become a poet’ - I want to shatter

this baseless myth!

in her face.

It was offered to me to be the

linguistic editor

of the one who says “I want to be a poet”

Good joke!

2. Please introduce yourself.

(You may mention your academic or professional experience, past publications, aspirations, notable achievements or any related literary organisations you are currently associated with)

  • I will not skip an official introduction.

The details of this type of familiarity are easily found in search engines on the internet, I’ll postpone those for the epilogue.


I'm not going to give you

a monologue that looks like it came from a written script.

First, there are things that damage the memory

that I do not remember what they are

but I’ll discuss what it recalled.

You should know beforehand that you have to

disconnect from the mindset of what is good and what is bad

because for me the conceptualism of these

are very different

they are said - in the half

of a fountain pen dipped in a black inkwell that records

creation not in the friendliest way, and the second half

serves for the inhalation of smoke


that comes out of the burn every five minutes.

You should know that

I had a bed partner, a cat that

purred in the elbow cloth

for a period of fourteen years,


the vibration of purring has healing properties for humans as well,

you can see many similarities between

my cat’s purrs

and the human mantra in a safe and calm atmosphere

that I aspire to reach

with you.

"You know... Until I was about three or four years old

I wore 'reverse shoes'

due to / hypotonia and over-flexibility of

a girl with feet

that face inward.

In the first classes of school

I participated in a dance that awoke every lesson anew to the (Hebrew) song "I haven’t loved enough yet"

in the Folk Dancing class.

Although dancing is a social custom

but I had no friendship figures

and the teacher was hostile

to me.

What do you know?

Before that

I studied ballet at the community center with

a cousin whose body made me

uncomfortable with myself

as opposed to her as she completely became

for 60 minutes of ballet with a vibrant and stalk-like bone structure

and the ability of the muscles surrounding it to move freely in full range around the hall at the graduation ceremony

while I donned a thick T-shirt

with long sleeves

under a blue leotard with a "tutu" skirt and white classic-girl stockings

and silk dancing shoes

felt like an episode that cannot move without

feeling awkward

in the final performance.

At the age of six in the 1980s

I started writing

what in time became the beginning of my literary career since then I

never stopped writing

just so that I would now have that

last line

for you.

From my poem “Pleased to Meet You”

Now the epilogue:

Tali Cohen Shabtai

Poet. Born in Jerusalem

Tali began writing poetry from the age of 6, and became an outstanding student in literature. Her impressions began to be published in the school newspaper. At the age of 13, her poem was first published in a literary newspaper in Israel, “Scales” (Moznaim). Her literary works have been translated into many languages.

Tali has composed, so far, three books of poetry.

Bilingual – “Purple Diluted in a Black's Thick" from 2007

"Challenged" from 2012;

"Nine Years From You" published in 2018

In 2022 the fourth book will be published in a bilingual edition consisting of about 350 pages of poems and impressions.

In 2014, she also participated in a Norwegian film about the life of poets called “The Last Bohemian. It was screened in Scandinavian cinemas and Tali aroused great interest.

Tali's poems express mental and physical exile. She explores the paradox of her exile and freedom. Her cosmopolitan vision is very evident in her writing, and she is considered an international poet of repute.

Tali frequently uses her poetry as a tool to challenge. Most of her works from recent years stem from her challenge and protest.

Tali Cohen Shabtai is known in her country as a poet who "has her own rules of the game" - Amos Levitan.

Cohen Shabtai lived for years in Oslo, Norway and the United States; and she stands out as a poet with a unique lyrical style, "In poetry, whoever does not give herself easily and is subject to the rules of her own game."

Tali is a member of the Hebrew Writers Association in Israel, as well as the Poets Guild of Oslo-Norway.

Her literary works have been translated and are still being translated into many languages.

Cohen Shabtai is prominent on international stages in the world of poetry.

She lives in Chicago, USA.

3. Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories or write-ups?

Two main ways:

One, my inspirations and the other by study and research that I perform on the subject I chose to write about. Such as nonfiction books for example, documentaries, biographies and more.

I'll start with my inspirations: I worry so badly

to the point of discharge,

so much,

so much so

that to experience to produce from a sapling fruit that I don’t particularly like,

so I use

flesh and blood

to exchange them

into poems

I often taste things

for the first time

just to perceive the feeling just to write about it

and not according to a dictionary


it no longer just generates curiosity

it is a



So, every day after seven o'clock in the morning

I have inspiration on

the work desk.

I am enslaved to my poetry

and that there are types of slavery not according to slavery

that is said about it: that human beings are born and die in slavery:

in childhood – they are chained in diapers and in their death - put in a coffin

I am a slave to my inspiration.

Examples of inspirations:

*I love people who

are controversial

that their polemic is spiced with unambiguity

in doses

that they eat throughout the day.

And that taboo is not only for purposes

of research for them.

And then there are the homeless people on Jaffa Avenue to Agripas Street

and back

they are exposed to the climate and humans

in an extreme fashion

- and they are my best friends.

*Also I love remote sights

they provide a solution by offering a glimpse into the lives of people on the fringes of society,

it is amusing how much transparency there is in them - so much

that I see my own life within them.

It’s enough to smell the figurative stench

in remote, dark places therefore I frequently travel in foreign countries

Empty and reckless, the impure and lepers, homosexuals and transsexuals, prostitutes and harlots, homeless people, junkies,

the mad


incurable patients,

gangs, mentally ill and more...


I collect poems of beings from the margins,

since they

have greater potential

for stumbling out

of convention -

just like me!

And they are a fertile ground for inspiration for my poetry. So yes! I come

with the aim

of satiating inspirations

based on

my theories.


women like me, yes?

Over the years, things have been added to overshadow

what preceded us –

which is largely


with my agenda.

The accepted wording

is not

what will please me –


in my poetry I usually challenge, challenging is a central feature of my poetry. Others of my inspirations: unfairness, injustice, refuting much of the accepted norm in many respects - these are certainly a breakthrough for many inspirations in my writing.

4. How do you feel when you finish writing your fourth book, share with us your thoughts?

I will gather information in my mind and give it

a shadow

in the other hand that you will write about deeds

and theory and commendable


thanks to the strength of the documentation.

I do not feel comfortable with the end

of the ending of my book –

my words are not written as an appendix comment or explanation

as befits the closing

words of a book.

I write this ending that is essential to the book

as a whole, and is considered relevant

as a signature, final word and epilogue.

There are other sides to this matter, marking

the end will allow me to be

practical, specific

that is, to give timing to sending

the draft for publication

with a face looking forward

I will write

the next mass.

It could be that in writing the end

of this book

from the purification and erasure of sins of a high


followed by calm, in other words satiation

that characterizes catharsis.

I will not tire of words, but for the first time

I admit that I copy creation

in a commendable way.

5. Any special announcements that you may wish to make and let the world know?

Surely, the initial reaction in humans

at the beginning of their lives is the voice,

after that everything else

is a charade.

- Tali Cohen Shabtai

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