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The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai

Yehuda Amichai; Edited by Robert Alter

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai Download image

ISBN10: 0374536589
ISBN13: 9780374536589

Trade Paperback

576 Pages



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The largest English-language collection to date from Israel’s finest poet.

Few poets have demonstrated as persuasively as Yehuda Amichai why poetry matters. One of the major poets of the twentieth century, Amichai created remarkably accessible poems, vivid in their evocation of the Israeli landscape and historical predicament, yet universally resonant. His are some of the most moving love poems written in any language in the past two generations—some exuberant, some powerfully erotic, many suffused with sadness over separation that casts its shadow on love. In a country torn by armed conflict, these poems poignantly assert the preciousness of private experience, cherished under the repeated threats of violence and death.

Amichai’s poetry has attracted a variety of gifted English translators on both sides of the Atlantic from the 1960s to the present. Assembled by the award-winning Hebrew scholar and translator Robert Alter, The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai is by far the largest selection of the master poet’s work to appear in English, gathering the best of the existing translations as well as offering English versions of many previously untranslated poems. With this collection, Amichai’s vital poetic voice is now available to English readers as it never has been before.


Read an Excerpt

When I Was a Child

When I was a child

grasses and masts stood at the seashore,

and as I lay there

I thought they were all the same

because all of them rose into the sky above me.

Only my mother’s...

About the author

Yehuda Amichai; Edited by Robert Alter

Yehuda Amichai (1924–2000) is considered to be Israel’s greatest contemporary poet. With his poems available in forty languages, he may be the most widely translated Hebrew poet since King David. Amichai’s work published in English includes Songs of Jerusalem and Myself, Time, The Great Tranquillity, Amen, Open Closed Open, and Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm with Fingers.

Robert Alter’s scholarly works on subjects ranging from the eighteenth-century novel to contemporary Hebrew and American literature earned him the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement from the Los Angeles Times. Alter is the Class of 1937 Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

Yehuda Amichai

Read Yehuda Amichai's interview in the Paris Review