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My name is Ilana Haley.

I am a dancer, editor, editor-hebrew, educator, poet, poetry, prose, short story writer, storyteller, teacher, wife/partner, writer, and yoga teacher. I was born in Israel. I live in Chicago, Illinois, USA. I'm on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. You can also find me here. I’ve told 111 stories. I joined Cowbird on February 6, 2012.

The Rocky Hill: Stories & Poems opens with the story of Rita. It is narrated by her son, a young soldier, visiting his mother’s grave in order to tell her his long-concealed awareness of tragic elements in their lives and the deep confusion that shaped his identity as he says: “that day haunts me like a demon from Dante’s hell...” He struggles to find truth that will bring him peace in a time of personal conflict

In the story The Kissing Stone: Alya is struggling with the tragic death of her father in the war . . . Ilana Haley grew up in a kibbutz in Israel. She went through the wars which provide the background for her characters and their emotional strains and conflicts--and their efforts to heal themselves. Their stories are told in this book. They will take the reader into the realms of love, war, pain, passion, life reality and death. This book is a journey of life and death with all its complexity. Haley uses her expressive, evocative poetry to further awaken one’s senses and inspire contemplation of the meaning of existence and the value of emotion.

Reading The Rocky HIll: Stories& poems, is a unique experience. Enjoy!

Publication, in Tel Aviv

Review of Ilana’s poetry, by Oded Wolkstein, Top Editor at Kter

Moments when time cease moving, and its naked shape show its face; moments that after them

You would not be who you were. Every one of Ilana Haley stories and poems is a jurney into am emotional

poems, is a journey into an emotional transformation; black holes in the cosmology of the soul. A special kind of stories, a special kind of poems. with a soft, but firm hand she returns again and again to the wound that from it the words are oozing in a flood that does not coagulate. In the tremble of this touch there also exist a dimension of a healing. But when we talk about real art, there exists also the primordial wound. Ilana stretches the language to the edge of fear, a stream of loneliness; her words are used on the border of the silence. She writes from the depth of pain that never get old. Ilana’s book is the pure shape of this pain. When you read her stories and poems, you understand, that Ilana invites again and again her subjects---a lover, a friend, an old memory or different metamorphosis of the singing “I” -- in order to return an convince herself of the distant between her and them. Under the warm voice, flows constantly another voice: knowing, thinking, and harsh. The voice that saves from all these intensive meeting the eternal truth of loneliness. These stories and poems can also be read as a string of separations. She conceals in her poems the strong composition that is given to those who were banished from the garden of eden-- never to return.

But the loneliness of Ilana is wander. In the dark-room of her aloneness, Ilana captures one after another the moments of love that were captured in her glass of words-- words that forever are the bandage, forever are the wound, forever are the salt that awaken the pain which never get old. Ilana’s book is the pure image faithful to this pain.


About the author.

Ilana Haley takes her literary inspiration from an Israeli childhood--- as a child of early kibbutz pioneers. These stories and poems reflect values and conflicts that helped to make the Nation of Israel. She left her kibbutz and spent two years in the army; from there to her life in Tel-Aviv as dancer with the Israeli Ballet, and then to America with a grant from The Martha Graham School. She found inspiration as a fashion designer, studying at the Chicago Art Institute, and as a Yoga teacher at the Yoga Circle in Chicago. After she finished her BA in Hebrew literature at the Spertus College in Chicago, she went back to Israel for few years and received her MA at 1 University in Tel-Aviv. She came back to America to teach in high school (her favorite occupation-- as she says). After many years of writing and reflection she has finally, after the death of her mother, decided to publish this small volume of prose and poetry that begins to tell the stories that give words to her history and hopes. She is working now on other books of prose and poetry and plans to do very little else.

[stars-4-0._V192240704_.gif] To understand and appreciate this book you must understand the author's background, October 26, 2010


This review is from: The Rocky Hill: Stories & Poems (Paperback)

The terrain of the area known as Palestine is a rough one, the soil does not readily succumb to the machinations of humans. During and after the widespread killing of Jews in Europe in World War II, many of those that survived embarked on a quest to Palestine in order to build a Jewish state. Quite naturally, the Arab residents of the area were not receptive to the idea and there has been a continuous state of war between Israel and the surrounding Arab populations. Life has been hard for these people, many bear physical scars and all have emotional and psychologCharles Ashbacher "("[carrot._V192251235_.gif]ical wounds that run even deeper.

If you read this book by a child of Israeli pioneers with that in mind, then the dark tone of her stories and poems will make sense. They reflect a sense of hope embedded deeply in a wrapper of fatalistic reality and pessimism. You get the impression that it is largely autobiographical in nature as the discussions about the death of her father have a very personal tone. "Desert Dance" is a story featuring a female soldier (Liat) in the Israeli army, not in combat but in an attempt to prepare a small group of young boys to be soldiers. She is minimally successful in this endeavor and demonstrates a naïve approach to life that is not an asset for citizens of Israel. The author served two years in the Israeli army.

Especially dark are the poems, they are not full of "warm fuzzies", reflecting the life experiences of someone that has observed and experienced struggle, unnecessary death and the emergence of persons proud of their past and toughened by their experiences. Even the story of motherhood in "The Roses are Dying" is not a happy one.

The Rocky Hill

Author: Ilana Haley
Publisher:Pardes (February 1, 2010)
ISBN: 9781441583024
Rating: Three Stars (out of Five)


Ilana Haley takes readers from the Israeli desert to metropolitan New York City, from the confusions of a little boy to a woman torn between her husband and her lover, accomplishing these disparate journeys in a mere seven stories and thirty-three poems.

Many of Haley’s free verse poems are sad, while others shine with strong imagery, relying on everyday language to construct resonating visions. For example, in “Crazy Sun,” she writes, “In the vortex of consciousness / You are a glowing gallop / In the abyss of my youth / You are an orchid / Of the sun.”

The seven stories are somewhat melancholy, dancing through emotionally narratives. In the title story, “The Rocky Hill (Rita),” a young boy lives on a kibbutz with his mother, Rita, and her husband, the brother of the boy’s dead father. The boy’s resemblance to his father, a man the mother loved more than her husband but never married, sends the mother into an emotional spiral.

In “Strawberry Omelet,” a little girl, the boy’s best friend on the kibbutz, attempts to thwart her beloved grandmother’s impending death, coaxing her grandmother from a hospital bed to fix her favorite egg dish:

“More jam,” said Nati. The child’s voice entered Marta’s body and stayed there.

“It’ll burst,” Marta said; her eyes wide open, and she is taking leave of the clouds and the trees and the birds and the mountains. She heard Nati’s voice saying into her back, “Let it burst.”

Two of the more affecting stories are “Bury Me, Gabriela” and “Desert Dance (Liat).” In “Dance,” readers meet Liat in New York City and learn of her service in the Israeli Defense Force. In her youth, assigned as an instructor at a desert outpost, Liat meets Emil, a Moroccan Jew, and becomes embroiled in environment she does not understand.

In “Gabriela,” the protagonist descends into guilt over being absent when her father died in Israel. She attempts to carry out his funeral wishes, but alienates her mother in the process. Her unrelenting grief apparently destroys her marriage, and then on a trip to New York City, she finds herself tempted both by a ménage à trois and a lesbian encounter with her best friend: “‘You should have seen the expression on your face, Gabriela,’ Alexandra said. ‘Mockery? Disdain? You who is in search of the center, the umbilicus, the lost connection.’”

As above, the author occasionally stumbles over grammar or syntax, and it is sometimes necessary for the reader to keep a close eye on point of view, but the writing is deeply emotional, especially when presented in the female voice.

The Rocky Hill offers readers something out of the ordinary, a blend of the exotic and the personal, rooted in the experience of modern Israel and leavened by a Western perspective.

Gery Presley Review

As Politicians Posture,

Woman Remembers Human Cost of War. How Survivor of Israel, Palestine Wars

honors memories of those who fought before. As world leaders posture over peace

in the Middle East, trading barbs and sound bites through the media, at least one

former resident of Israel remembers the human toll of the conflict.

The progression of Ilana Haley's life from soldier to dancer to

designer to teacher is no more unlikely than the simple fact that she

survived her youth to live through it all. Haley uses her memories of

living on a Kibbutz in Israel to tell stories of love and war in her

book The Rocky Hill Her recollections span the earliest Kibbutz pioneers who built

the nation of Israel, where she served in the army and later returned to earn a

Master's degree in Hebrew Literature. Along the way, she was also a dancer in Tel

Aviv with the Israeli Ballet and even came to the U.S. to study with a grant from

the Martha Graham School of Dance, and later found further inspiration

as a designer with a degree from the Chicago Art Institute.

"My stories and poems focus on how people lived during the wars fought over the

building of the State of Israel," she said. "Many of us lost fathers and brothers, and

found ourselves not only fighting for a homeland, but also fighting to live as we

simultaneously grieved for our loved ones. One of my stories focuses on a girl who

can't move past the memories of her father, who died in the war. She shares her

grief through forbidden trips through the woods outside the walls of the kibbutz to

meet a boy -- a soldier -- who can't move past the memories of his friends who died

in the war beside him. They lay in the meadow together, each ensconced in their

own thoughts, memories and ghosts. Individually, they can't move past it, but

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