Although historians of the avant-garde have noted the double requirement for innovators to dramatize a provocative verbal action that experiments with form, the interaction between the ideology and poetics of avant-garde poetry has been largely neglected. Recent studies point to the contradiction between avant-garde poetry's stance of rebellion and its inevitable historicization. Less attention has been paid to the relationship between the negated or undermined tradition and the process whereby experimentation becomes a new tradition.
In this paper I explore these questions with reference to the work of the Israeli poet, Avot Yeshurun—in particular, how the mother tongue underlying his Hebrew writing forms a subversive tradition and, as such,fulfills new, unprecedented roles in his poetry. I discuss the ways in which the montage (of words, perspectives, languages, and cultural worlds) and the interplay between autobiography and poetics inform the gradual self-codification of his work. Of central importance is the dynamic whereby quotation montage is made to carry the transgressive force of Yeshurun's work—with ideological and historical, as well as poetic, consequences. All this leads to a reevaluation of Yeshurun's position vis-à-vis Israeli modernism.