Questioning faith in the parsha
Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) is one of the leading contemporary Hebrew poets. His contribution extends beyond his own literary achievements to an influence that helped create a modern Israeli poetry .
Born in Germany to a religiously observant family, Amichai and his family emigrated toPalestine in 1935, living briefly in Petach Tikvah before settling in Jerusalem. In World War II he fought with the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, and upon his discharge in 1946, he joined the Palmach. During the War of Independence he fought in the Negev, on the southern front. Following the war, Amichai attended Hebrew University, studying Biblical texts and Hebrew literature, and then taught in secondary schools.
Amichai’s first volume of poetry, Achshav Uve-Yamim HaAharim (“Now and in Other Days”) was published in 1955 and aroused serious interest in readers and critics alike. This and subsequent volumes of poetry revealed that Amichai was engaged in a distinctly modern literary enterprise, both in content and in language. Subjects heretofore deemed prosaic became appropriate poetic images: tanks, airplanes, fuel, administrative contracts, and technological terms figure in his work, reflecting Amichai’s conviction that a modern poetry must confront and reflect contemporary issues. (Read more from the Jewish Virtual Library)
Amichai has published eleven volumes of poetry in Hebrew, two novels, and a book of short stories. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. His collections of poetry available in English include Open Closed Open (Harcourt Brace, 2000); The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai: Newly Revised and Expanded Edition (1996); A Life of Poetry, 1948-1994 (1995); Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm with Fingers (1989); Poems of Jerusalem (1988); The Great Tranquility: Questions and Answers (1983); Love Poems (1981); Time (1979); Amen (1977); Songs of Jerusalem and Myself (1973); and Poems (1969). In 1982, Amichai received the Israel Prize for Poetry and he became a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1986. He lived in Jerusalem until his death on September 25, 2000.
A Selected Bibliography
Not of This Time, Not of This Place (1963)
The World Is a Room and Other Stories (1984)
Poetry in Translation
A Life of Poetry 1948-1994 (1995)
Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm with Fingers: Recent Poems (1991)
Exile at Home (1998)
I Am Sitting Here Now (1994)
Love Poems (1981)
On New Year’s Day, Next to a House Being Built (1979)
Open Closed Open: Poems (2000)
Poems of Jerusalem: A Bilingual Edition (1988)
Poems: English and Hebrew (1994)
Selected Poems (1968)
Selected Poems of Yehuda Amichai (1971)
Songs of Jerusalem and Myself (1973)
The Early Books of Yehuda Amichai (1988)
The Great Tranquility: Questions and Answers (1997)
The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai (1986)
Travels of the Last Benjamin of Tudela (1976)
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