What People Are Saying

About Elana’s Poetry:

“Elana Bell has undertaken a task many others have avoided: facing the agony of the Palestine-Israel conflict and its history. She has done so in the only way it is possible: by writing with the compassionate voice of a translator. She gives her voice over to others without changing her vocabulary or her beat. Elements basic to life—bread, fruit, water, and rats—are here in profusion. These poems are built for our time.”
—Fanny Howe


“Elana Bell has the gift of reach. Her compact, potent poems create the rich texture of worlds, exploring complicated realities and contradictions, risking empathy, bravely reaching beyond a ‘safe zone’ where only one story merits telling and one suffering deserves respect. Her voice, both tender and tough, searches for a true inheritance that includes everybody. How will people ever get anywhere better together without poems like these?”
—Naomi Shihab Nye

About Elana’s Work as an Educator:

“To work with Ms. Bell has been a true blessing. My poetry has grown more powerful. She has planted a flower in me that will forever bloom.”
—Angelica Flores, student


“Thank you for believing in my poetry. You inspire me to be brave. You’ve made me believe in my writing and take risks, even when people tear me down.”
—Alexis Valentin, student


“Elana is an extremely enthusiastic writer and educator, bringing her passion for writing to the students in a way that is accessible and contagious.”
—Anna Hall, principal: Bronx Academy of Letters


“Elana has worked wonders. Her workshops empower participants to express themselves and to articulate their own experiences in a powerful and accessible way.”
—Daniel Moses, Director of Educator Programs: Seeds of Peace


About Elana’s Performance

“Some stones, say poets, weep like humans. Some humans never weep at all. Elana Bell’s work is mesmerizing and important, piercing the heart. Her words, eyes, voice and movement could make stones weep and allow humans to remember what life and love are really all about. Hers is a true poetry of peace.”
—Amichai Lau Lavie, Founding director of Storahtelling

“Elana Bell’s performance of Eyes, Stones was captivating and haunting.  Her use of imagery and the interweaving of the story of her [Holocaust survivor] grandparents with that of a Palestinian family make for a beautiful and powerful experience.  Her performance, with carefully choreographed dance and lighting that set a mood of intrigue, drew me into tales of heartbreak, identity and the search for a common humanity.”
—Heidi Rosbe, Former Deputy Director AANY

“Elana Bell’s moving, provocative performance of the poems from her collection Eyes, Stones captivated the crowd at our congregation and led to thoughtful, probing questions and discussion long after the last haunting musical note was played and the last rock in the surrounding circle had been moved.”
—Rabbi Ellen Lippmann,Founder and Rabbi at Congregation Kolot Chayeinu, Brooklyn NY

“Elana Bell explores the position of observer versus participant as she weaves a conversation between biblical archetypes, contemporary icons, and ordinary people living in a complex and dark context of conflict. Her soulful performance evokes the ghosts of those who were forced to flee their homes and those who were forced to live in terror. In the end, Elana offers her audience the possibility of moving beyond the role of witness to the role of ally.”
—Anja Rous, Just Vision