Tova Schvartzman — Poeta y artista visual judío-argentina/Argentine Jewish Poet and Artist– “De Grietas y Entretantos”/ “Of Fissures and Meanwhiles” — páginas seleccionadas con obras de arte/selected pages with artworks


Tova Schvartzman


GRACIELA SHVARTZMAN (TOVA) es Licenciada en Sociología por la Universidad de Buenos Aires y Licenciada en Historia Judía por el Instituto de Ciencias Judías de Buenos Aires. Ha sido profesora universitaria en Psicoanálisis en la Universidad de Buenos Aires, y otras Universidades, Ha ocupado cargos de dirección en la comunidad judía en Argentina, así como en programas nacionales y de Naciones Unidas (PNUD). Ha colaborado activamente en el tratamiento de las víctimas del atentado a la Embajada de Israel en Argentina, y de las víctimas del atentado de Amia en Buenos Aires y ha formado parte de la Comisión de Investigación de la DAIA sobre los judíos desaparecidos durante la dictadura. Ha impartido conferencias en Madrid, Jerusalén, Tel Aviv, etc. y ha escrito artículos sobre cultura y mitos judíos. Ha publicado “De Grietas y Entretantos” (libro de poesía). Ha realizado libros de artista (“En cualquier aquí”, “Evanescencia”) y aún investiga este campo. Ha sido parte de LABA BA desde el principio, enseñando fuentes judías.


GRACIELA SHVARTZMAN (TOVA) has a degree in Sociology from the University of Buenos Aires, and a degree in Jewish History from the Institute of Jewish Sciences of Buenos Aires. She has been a university teacher in Psychoanalysis in the University of Buenos Aires, and others Universities, She has held positions of direction in the Jewish community in Argentina, as well as in national programs and the United Nations (UNDP). She has actively collaborated in the treatment of the victims of the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, and of the victims of the Amia attack in Buenos Aires and has been part of the DAIA Commission of Investigation on the disappeared Jews during the dictatorship. She has given conferences in Madrid, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, etc. and has written articles on Jewish culture and myths. She has published “De Grietas  y Entretantos” (poetry book). She has made artist´s books (“En cualquier aquí”, “Evanescencia”)  and still investigates this field. She has been part of LABA BA from the beginning, teaching Jewish sources.  


De Grietas y Entretantos/ Of Fissures and Meanwhiles

To My Father

I copy you without knowing it

in my eyes raw

with dampness.

In your painful chest

In your silence.

You see,

that there I copy you poorly.

I let you be alone.

I note down in the calendar

the days for grieving.

So that you can understand me

I write you words

without letters.



I grief for you,


in the covered mirrors

of my eyes.

In each of the seven days

and the seven nights

of still to come.

I miss you,


in the echo of your last word

In my daughters.

I grief for you

seated under the warm ashes.

There in Gan Eden

I grieve for you,





When they gave me birth.

it was carnaval season in Buenos Aires.

They named me first,

And my father

gave my mother

a camelia.

They softly bound me.

The cloth still kept me rigid.

At times I stuck out an arm,

rebelled with a foot.

I raise my head

but the knot stays there

without untying.

My father told me that

in the carnival season in Buenos Aires

there were marionettes

when they gave me birth.


Mi madre y yo



What did I do with the fire?

I taught it to behave itself

around people,

to conceal the slights,

to sit up straight

I spoke into its ear

quieting it.

I told it:

“Quiet, it’s dangerous.”

Later. After a while.

not now,


And the fire paid attention to me.

I domesticated its flames

and I restrained my hands.

What did I do with the fire

when the others lit their torches,

they were experts in fires?

I kept it the same,


with the necessary coal.

And I lost the flames

the true sparks

of love and hate.

Now, with the years

I’m extinguishing myself.

Let the fire do what it wants.

I no longer want to educate it.


I Walk Home

I walk home

I knew my mother’s moods

and my father’s silences.

I glimpsed hats of rabbis,

neighbor ladies on the block

and shadows of the fig tree.

I walk home

I come upon the agonies of others

and the half open light the of the sexes.

I walk home

I walked

old friends

in piled up letters.

And arriving home

I stumbled over myself.


Mi bobe/My Grandmother


Prophet’s scent in the room.

Little kids, sons and daughters, patriarchs.

And in the cup of wine

A delay…

The door is opened

and a vision enters.

(It’s not the same invisible being

which is nothing.)

Let’s see, a place,

a little place!

The visitor is so light

and his burden so heavy.

(It’s not the same to be invisible

as to be nothing.)

Poor Elijah

He becomes undone.

There is someone who doesn’t

believe in prayers.

There is a grandchild

ready for adventure

and a grandfather’ voice

holds him back.

Elijah makes himself comfortable

and arrives in time for the glass of wine.

A breeze in the eyes.

an aroma in the soul.

And for the incredulous,


To Jordana

My daughter springs forth from her hair

like an almond-colored


She gives me a kiss

and I become cotton

to wrap her up in.


To Lara

A bell to the air.

She is music in my mouth

though I may not call her so.



She spins around,

crouches down to hide.

She places her smile among my fingers;


complains about her hair

and draws whirlwinds

with her voice.

While I write nonsense,

she invents what is important:

a very serious song,

a question,

a glossy paper

that is lost.

On the rug,

she plays with photos

and laughs about the past

… .still.

Little Lara,

my fruit that didn’t fall from the tree.

… I fear life.



Once I was yours.

You possessed me among the threads

of your spidersweb,

You were a man

dressed in secrets,

that was lost.

who taught me the skin’s wine

that doesn’t deceive.

I could have died

but I didn’t do it.

Life needed me.


That Mann Moses

I looked for him in Rome

San Pietro in Víncoli empty.

I kneeled down,

Christianly alone.

The furrow of the Law

reached for an instant

a draw with death.


I pronounced,

fettered to the cold stone

of the desert.

But he,

looked in another direction.

And then,

I got up and walked

denying miracles.

I don’t know who abandoned whom.


We Women, Those of Us Now,

Are No Longer the Same

Since December

of nineteen seventy-seven,

the river has carried away

the broken docks,

some of our fathers

and all our adolescences,

The river has brought children

to the new docks,

that, fortunately,

come reaching

the banks.

Our men are those who

built the village.

And the fire is, almost always,

our task,

At times we can predict the storms.

And when they pass,

we count up damages and wounds,

we look over every palmful of earth.

The town doesn’t yet

have a cemetery.



July 18, 1994

December 18, 1991

In the end,

those who believe themselves

to be gods

destroyed the heavens

and the earth.

The land was

like the men,

in a reasonable disorder;

And the spirit rested

covering the Eternal Darkness.

And those who believed themselves to be gods said:

That it be Evil,

And it was Evil.

And the night profaned the second day.

And they said:

“Let the abysms rise to the surface

and life die buried.”

And night prepared the altar

on the second day.

And they said:

“That those who see solace

find only remains

among the rubble.”

And night officiated

on the third day.

And they said:

“Let the exhorbitent men

go crazy while waiting.”

And the night

cursed the forth day.

And they continued saying:

“That the name of God

be unpronounceable

among the dead and the ruins.”

And the night

sacrificed the fifth day.

And those who believed themselves to be gods

celebrated the destruction

that they created with their own hands.

And it was the emptiness

the night

the sixth day.

On the seventh day

those who believed themselves to be gods

called the satanic angels to be silent,

And the men

covered the mirrors of their houses

and went out to seek the Day.


Because the Years Turn

Because the years turn.

In the beginning.

they are ony

drums and noise.

Later on, some soldiers

on foot,

nothing serious.

Later, a cloud of galloping


Death, with a general’s cap,

There, yes,

one realizes

that they are coming on the attack.

You can stay in the fort

and let panic kill you.

Or go out to mix it up with them.

It’s all an art.

The years don’t come alone.

They are laden with loves,


quick-moving stones.

If one leaves the fort

and is able to hold onto

to what the years bring,

it seems they are destroyed.

Death, with a general’s cap,


He sleeps a little.

And doesn’t go to battle.


only has a life

like a weapon.


Translations by Stephen A. Sadow


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