One of you taught me how to write a sonnet by walking across snowy city blocks. One of you danced with me. One of you took me to get my fortune read in coffee grounds, two of you read my tarot cards. One of you did a dream workshop with me. One of you translated my poems in a cloud of cigarette smoke. One of you baked me a loaf of bread. I’ve read your books when I first cleared my desk, at the start of an academic project, and for inspiration on a Saturday morning, papers everywhere, while drinking tea on the porch. All of you, wise, full of knowledge, able to recognize visions. But also always asking with a beginner’s mind: What do I see? What is this vision? We juggle delicately between the metaphorical and the real. The question began with a rush of scholarly importance, for a panel at a conference, but then, meandered, stopped and started through the weird months and years since we first started asking it together, winding and unwinding like a skein of knitting-wool, taking on a different kind of urgency. At some point I stopped in my metaphorical tracks: maybe this isn’t just an academic question, but something I really, urgently, need to know! We need to know! Maybe we should tell some other people! It shadowed and fed my academic research on prophecy––this gathering together, this folio/panel/conversation/coven/weaving/texting/visioning. Here you go, then, kind readers: some brand new and also very old thoughts on prophecy and vision & women’s voices. And as we are in the business of making and reading signs, what a perfect home this coven-conversation has found, here in AYIN-land, in the semantic field between the babble of the spring & the Bilaam-speech of those whose eyes are opened.
Yosefa Raz is a poet, translator, and scholar. Her work has recently appeared in Entropy, Jacket2, Guernica, Protocols, the Boston Review, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her scholarship is focused on the often fraught transformation of prophecy into poetry. She is a lecturer in the Department of English Language & Literature at the University of Haifa.