This article immediately caught my attention because just in class yesterday we concluded that n+1 never includes poems in its volumes. For the most part, this holds true. However, in this case n+1 made an exception to its ordinary behavior. This is the first time I’ve seen poems in the magazine, so we really need to think critically about what purpose they serve and how they add to the magazine’s focus on “Conversion Experience.”
The really controversial part of these poems is that the poet, Yitzhak Laor, addresses the notion of Jews as Conquerors, which has just recently crept back into mainstream thought but until recently was regarded as the opposite of what was happening. This is all the more fascinating because Laor was born in Israel himself and served in the IDF and continues to live in Israel. These poems are completely sarcastic and routinely mock Israel’s justifications for their occupation of Palestinian territories (specifically those gained after the 6-day war). They are very dark and vivid, and I can imagine they would be taken as offensive by many Israelis.
What is n+1 trying to do here? I think that the “conversion experience” is a mission to upturn out previously accepted notions about regular occurrences, or at least be conscious and deliberate of what we accept to be normal. They include an article titled “A Solution from Hell” which labels the term ‘humanitarian warfare’ and speaks about how although war is an absurd concept, at its inception it still seems appealing. Another article titled “Chathexis” centers around the social phenomenon of online chatting and illuminates that we accept this unnatural form of communication to be perfectly normal whereas we should be critical of its purpose in our lives. N+1 does not come out and say that online chatting is bad or evil or anything of the sort, but rather hints at the fact that it would like us to be more critical and analytical of the practices we do engage in before accepting them as natural or normal.