This article offers a queer reading of Shimon Adaf’s volume of poetry, Aviva-No (2009), analyzing it in conjunction with his recent collection of essays on identity formation, Ani aherim (I am others) (2018). Adaf’s oeuvre has been primarily studied through the lens of ethnicity and race. This article demonstrates that gender plays a key role in his body of work. Aviva-No, which is a lamentation for the poet’s sister, destabilizes the boundaries between the mourning brother and the absent sister. This ontological deconstruction stimulates in Aviva-No a broader undoing of gender as an embodied identity. The volume is replete with what I refer to as “plural bodies,” fictional figures who transgress binaries of gender, sexuality, and sex, by simultaneously inhabiting at least two points on the continuum between these poles. Moreover, through the mobilization of gender identity in Aviva-No, Adaf queers contemporary identity politics in Israel. This discourse, he maintains, forces the subject to narrow down her self-understanding to a set of predetermined attitudes and values, which results in the perpetuation of hostility between reified versions of self and others in Israeli society. Aviva-No counters the perilous project of solidifying identity by demonstrating the extent to which even sex, which points to bodily materiality, is a category that is not one.
"Queering Identity Politics in Shimon Adaf’s Aviva-No."
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