Happy Birthday, Yehuda Amichai

And I said to myself: Everyone is attached to his own lament
as to a parachute. Slowly he descends and slowly hovers
until he touches the hard place.

                                                           – Yehuda Amichai

May 3, is the birth date of the most widely translated Hebrew poet, Yehuda Amichai. A poet who combined accessibility with a distinctly modernist voice; Amichai’s words go off inside you like a depth charge, sinking deep before their full weight is felt.

Ted Hughes described Amichai as:

a dazzlingly gifted poet, telling of real things he has lived and felt, in a poetry that seems the natural speech of people who speak of such things candidly, humorously, generously.

Today would have marked his 86th birthday, so if you have not yet felt the power of Amichai’s poetry, today is a good day to take the leap.

Here’s a few links to help you on your way…

Cortland Review

The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature

Poem Hunter



Filed under interviews/artist profiles, poetry & publishing

4 responses to “Happy Birthday, Yehuda Amichai

  1. my flirt with poetry started in english and continue with it still. i have very little knowledge in poetry and even smaller in hebrew poetry.
    it was someone around the blogsphere, here in wordpress that introduced me Amichai – and i am very happy i am able to read him in first langauge, without a midwife. (i think, though, he translated much himself which, i think, is almost always better)

  2. Yes, happy birthday! And thank you, Dhyan for introducing me to him too!

    I agree, Graham – it’s a damn shame I can’t – but I think you’re right – the translations are amazing too.

    Quite an art form, that of translation. It’s fascinated me for years and I wish I had the time to dig into it much deeper

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