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The Horst Frenz Prize Citations 2017

Be it known that Yael Kenan of the University of Michigan is the winner of the 2017 Horst Frenz Prize for the best presentation by a graduate student at the annual conference of the American Comparative Literature Association, which, in 2016, was held at Harvard University.

An eloquent demonstration that different languages needn't pose impossible barriers against mutual understanding, this paper focuses on a dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian poets: Mahmoud Darwish, a Palestinian poet writing in Arabic; and two Israeli poets, Almog Behar and Sami Shalom Cherit, both of Arab descent who write in Hebrew. In their attempts to relate to their shared culture across different languages, the poets break down the barriers between Israeli and Palestinian. Kenan’s exposition is clean, scrupulous in its attention to detail, and modest in tone. With meticulous philological analyses, Kenan has, nevertheless, written a moving essay that celebrates the human desire to communicate, even across linguistic barriers.

2017 Frenz Prize Committee:
Eugene Eoyang, Indiana University (Chair)
Ron Bogue, University of Georgia
Steven Sondrup, Brigham Young University