All poetry and translation in alphabetical order.
Poets from Ireland:
Poets from Israel:
Miriam Baruch Chalfi
Haim Nachman Bialik
Poets from South America:
Jorge Carrera Andrade
Poets from the United States:
Steven Ford Brown
More poets and translations in our Spring Issue
Poets and Translators - Summer 2000
Karen Alkalay-Gut teaches at Tel Aviv University and chairs the Israel Association of Writers in English. Her latest book in English The Love of Clothes and Nakedness has just been published by Tel Aviv:Federation of Writers Associations. In this issue, see the feature of In My Skin and her translations of Yehuda Amichai, Miryam Baruch Chalfi (a co-translation with Raquel Chalfi), Raquel Chalfi (co-translated with the author), and Yaffa Zins.
- Natan Alterman (1910-70) was born in Warsaw and settled in Tel Aviv
in 1925. He studied agronomy in Nancy, but eventually took up a
journalistic post. Markedly influenced by Russian and French symbolism,
rapidly established himself as the leading poet and polemicist of the
and fifties. He wrote descriptive, symbolist lyrics using a wide range
traditional forms, and also published topical verse under the heading
'The Seventh Column'. The latter played a critical role in expressing
shaping public opinion in the early days of Israeli statehood. Alterman
known for his outstanding translations of Shakespeare, Racine, and
The gentle and powerful poetry of Yehuda Amichai is known to a wide
of readers, and loved with unmatched intensity. One of the reasons for
emotional reaction is Amichai's simple love of life and his awareness
profundity of the experience of daily living, intensified by the fact
this living occurs in a country charged with meaning and continuous
choice. Poetry, he has said, is like a prayer, and indeed helps the
individual to come to terms with life in a way similar to that of
But Amichai's poems are not prayers—in the sense that they do not
formulas or accept predetermined solutions for problems. Every
is a prayer in itself, and each poem is a unique vision of an
a moment of time. Whether Amichai is describing the process of
ex-wife's bed down the street in Jerusalem or watching the Israelite in
front of him follow Moses through the desert, the poem is a sum of the
common experience and the unrepeatable understanding.
Amichai moved with his family from Germany to Israel in 1936 when he
11. His salvation from the Holocaust and his religious upbringing
much of his approach to experience. In World War II he fought with the Jewish
of the British Army, then joined the Palmach, fighting in the War of
Independence on the southern front. Following the war, Amichai attended
Hebrew University, studying Biblical texts and Hebrew literature, and
in secondary schools.
Amichai is a prolific writer and has published eleven volumes of
Hebrew, two novels, and a book of short stories. He has been
into 33 languages.
Jorge Carrera Andrade
Appointed as the new Ecuadorian Consul General in San Francisco in
Carrera Andrade quickly developed friendships on the American literary
scene. His early published essays and poetry in America appeared in
Abroad and Poetry. His first book of poetry in English, Secret Country
York: MacMillan Publishers, 1946), drew praise from American poets John
Peale Bishop, Paul Engle, Archibald MacLeish, Thomas Merton, Carl
and William Carlos Williams. Reviews of Secret Country appeared in The
Chicago Sunday Tribune, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The
Review, The Saturday Review of Literature, and The Yale Review .
During his career as a writer Carrera Andrade published some
books of poetry and forty books of prose. As he served the Ecuadorian
government in a variety of important diplomatic posts, Carrera Andrade
traveled and published his books in Quito, Barcelona, Caracas, Madrid,
Managua, New York, Paris, and Tokyo. Carrera Andrade also translated
the French (Pierre Reverdy), and his own poetry appeared in Chinese,
French, German, Japanese, and Russian translation. Today he is
Ecuador's most important poet and one of the most important Latin
writers of the century. However, despite his prominence as writer and
political figure -due to shifting allegiances created by frequent coups
politics- he died alone and in poverty in Ecuador in 1978.
Miriam Baruch Chalfi
- Miriam Baruch Chalfi has published two books of poetry in Israel in the
eight years that have been highly praised by critics and readers alike: In
the Center, and Longing. She is the mother of Raquel Chalfi.
Haim Nachman Bialik
Yocheved Bat-Miriam (1901-79) was born in Russia and attended
universities in Odessa and Moscow before settling n Palestine in 1926.
contemporaries, Leah Goldberg and Natan Alterman, Bat-Miriam
the techniques of the Russian symbolists and poets influenced by them,
including Boris Pasternak. She wrote with a keen sense of place—both
her childhood home and Palestine. Although adhering to strict metrical
her use of language is idiosyncratic and daring in its syntax, with
metaphorical leaps. Bat-Miriam wrote no poetry after 1948, the year of
her son's death in the War of Independence.
"Haim Nachman Bialik (1873-1934) was born in the Ukrainian village of
Radi and settled in Tel Aviv in 1924. He began publishing in the 1890s,
after moving to Odessa and coming under the influence of its Jewish
circles, and was rapidly hailed as the leading poet of the Hebrew
revival movement. In addition to writing, prophet-like, verse of wrath
response to the Russian pogroms of 1903-6, Bialik wrote poems of great
lyric intensity, infused with longing and despair. The poet's fine
modulations and natural cadences (adopted from Russian
meter), breathing into Hebrew a 'new song', are sharply counterpointed
by Bialik's lonely, brooding voice, speaking, as it were, in the wake
national and personal ruin. Though writing very little verse after
remained active in the public sphere. He founded Dvir publishing house,
and published works of the Hebrew medieval poets, published short
and literary essays and compiled (with Y.H. Ravnitzky) an important
anthology of rabbinic lore."
Steven Ford Brown
- Steven Ford Brown is employed in the European Equities Department of an
international investment firm in Boston. His translations from the
of Angel Gonzalez and Pere Gimferrer have appeared in The Antioch
Colorado Review, Christian Science Monitor,
Harvard Review, Poetry,
Quarterly West, and Verse. He has just completed his translation of
Of The Death Of The Rose: The Selected Poems of Jorge Carrera Andrade,
1926-1976. Excerpts from his translation of Astonishing World: The
Poems of Angel Gonzalez, 1956-1986 (Milkweed Editions, 1993) were
in The Vintage Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry, edited by J.D.
McClatchy (Vintage/Random House, 1996). In 1998 he gave a bilingual
with Spanish poet Angel Gonzalez at the Americas Society in New York
- Raquel Chalfi has been well known as one of Israel's leading poets
first book, Underwater Poems, published in 1975. Since then she has
published five more books, the latest in 1999, Stowaway. She is the daughter of Miriam Baruch Chalfi.
Robert Friend was an American poet, translator, and educator who lived
for nearly fifty years in Jerusalem. Friend was born in 1913 in
Brooklyn, New York to Russian immigrant parents. After studying at
Brooklyn College, Harvard and Cambridge, he taught English literature
and writing in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Panama, France, England, and
Germany. Robert Friend settled in Israel in 1950. He taught English and
American Literature at the Hebrew University for over thirty years, at
the same time becoming well-known as a poet (writing in English) and
a translator of Hebrew poetry. His poems and translations have
in many periodicals, including The New York Times, Encounter, The
Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Partisan Review, Poetry, Ariel,
Commentary, The Jerusalem Post, and The Jerusalem Review. His
publications include ten volumes of his own verse and six volumes of
translations from Hebrew poets. This issue contains a selection from Friend's poetry, and a biographical featureas well as a selection from Found in Translation which contains the work of the following poets, translated from the Hebrew.
Haim Nachman Bialik
Dalia (also spelled Dahlia, editor's note) Ravikovitch
- Leah Goldberg (1911-70) was born in Koenigsberg (now Kaliningrad)
and spent her early years in Kovno (now Kaunas), Lithuania. She
emigrated to Palestine in 1935, after receiving her Ph.D in Semitic
the University of Bonn. Her pared-down style is deceptively simple,
when using traditional forms, such as the sonnet sequence. She was
with the Hebrew modernist movement, led by Avraham Shlonsky, and with
edited an influential anthology of Russian poetry in translation. She
translated from the English, Italian, French, Greek and Russia. Her
of As You Like It and of Petrarch's sonnets are considered modern
classics. She taught from 1952 until the end of her life in the
Comparative Literature at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
- Hayim Lenski (1905-42?) was born in White Russia and eventually
in St. Petersburg. In 1934 he was arrested for writing Hebrew and was
sentenced to five years hard labour in Siberia. He continued to write
Hebrew poems while in the camps and his poems continued to reach
until 1937, when the flow stopped. Lenski returned to St. Petersburg
having served his time, but within a short time he was arrested again
to Siberia, where he died of hunger. In 1958 a manuscript by Lenski
containing a hundred and thirty-one unpublished poems reached Israel.
sonnets, ballads and satires in a sonorous Hebew enriched by startling
It is a poetry of private concerns, of childhood memories
later work—of the hardship of forced labour and imprisonment.
Dalia Ravikovitch (b. 1936) was born in Ramat Gan and studied at
the Hebrew University. She published her first collection of poems
in the army and was immediately recognized as a leading new voice,
at once disenchanted, restrained and delicately sensual. In recent
her poetry has become more engaged, particularly in its treatment of
the Israeli Palestinian conflict as seen from a woman's perspective.
Yaffa Zins, born in Poland, lives in Israel. She is the author of six books of poetry for which she has received numerous awards including the Tel Aviv Foundation Award and the President of Israel's prestigious Amos Awards. She lectures on the Holocaust, teaches poetry, and hosts literary events.