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Yehuda Amichai (1924 -2000): Poet of Modern Israel English 232 Copyright 2003, ACU Department Yehuda Amichai (1924 -2000): Poet of Modern Israel English 232 Copyright 2003, ACU Department of English. For Fair Use only. Images are not cleared for republication.

Biography n n n Born 1924 in Germany, Orthodox Jewish family, emigrated to Palestine, Biography n n n Born 1924 in Germany, Orthodox Jewish family, emigrated to Palestine, 1936. Served with British Army, WWII. Later with Israeli Army and with Palmach (elite guerilla unit). Attended Hebrew University while teaching high school

Career n n n Wrote poems, plays, novels, children’s books, essays Nominee for Nobel Career n n n Wrote poems, plays, novels, children’s books, essays Nominee for Nobel Prize Translated into 30 languages

Amichai and the Land Amichai and the Land

Arab and Israeli Claims Map key Palestinian control Partial Palestinian control West Bank Israeli Arab and Israeli Claims Map key Palestinian control Partial Palestinian control West Bank Israeli control Golan Heights

State of Israel -- 1948 n n Palestine was Turkish when Jewish settlers began State of Israel -- 1948 n n Palestine was Turkish when Jewish settlers began coming in late 1800 s. British liberated it in WW I, 1917. Issued Balfour Declaration of British support for Jewish homeland. UN Partition Plan, 1947 Israel established May 14, 1948. Attacked the next day by Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan. Arab-Israeli Wars took place 1956, 1967, 1973.

“If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem” If I forget thee, Jerusalem, Then let my right “If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem” If I forget thee, Jerusalem, Then let my right be forgotten.

“Jerusalem” On a roof in the Old City, Laundry hanging in the late afternoon “Jerusalem” On a roof in the Old City, Laundry hanging in the late afternoon sunlight: The white sheet of a woman who is my enemy,

“Tourists” They weep at the beautiful prowess of our boys, Lust after our tough “Tourists” They weep at the beautiful prowess of our boys, Lust after our tough girls And hang up their underwear To dry quickly In cool blue bathrooms

“An Arab Shepherd Is Searching for His Goat on Mount Zion” And on the “An Arab Shepherd Is Searching for His Goat on Mount Zion” And on the opposite mountain I am searching For my little boy. An Arab shepherd and a Jewish father Both in their temporary failure.

Amichai on Writing n n Everyone can make poetry. It begins with a child’s Amichai on Writing n n Everyone can make poetry. It begins with a child’s naming things, as Adam and Eve named the animals. “Poetry was present in the Garden of Eden. ” All poetry is political, even love poetry. But he hates “poster-like” political poetry.

Amichai on Writing n n “Poetry is everywhere. Everything is poetry, to me. ” Amichai on Writing n n “Poetry is everywhere. Everything is poetry, to me. ” Amichai once said that he wrote “in order to comfort myself. About life, about wars, about difficulty. I write poems after things are finished. During war and love, poems are not written. ”

Amichai’s subject: human situation n n Relations between people, between people and God Even Amichai’s subject: human situation n n Relations between people, between people and God Even use kitsch [art that shows off its bad taste; shabby or vulgar art]. “Real life is kitsch. ” Sunsets, birth, death, funerals are kitsch. The poet is “not to run away from kitschy situations but use it in a dry and down-to-earth way. ”

Amichai on peace n “I would rather fight for non-war. ” The term peace Amichai on peace n “I would rather fight for non-war. ” The term peace is too easily said. “Peace is something for which people were ready to go out and kill. ” Leaders have always claimed, “This war is for peace. ”

n The role of the poet is n The role of the poet is "to name each thing, each feeling, each experience, plainly and accurately, without pretense. "

Sources n n n Mubarak statement, links to maps: http: //edition. cnn. com/2003/WORLD/meast/06/03/bush. a Sources n n n Mubarak statement, links to maps: http: //edition. cnn. com/2003/WORLD/meast/06/03/bush. a rabs/index. html http: //www. snunit. k 12. il/shireshet/amichai/ http: //www. emory. edu/ENGLISH/Bahri/amichai 1. gif http: //www. library. upenn. edu/collections/rbm/photos/AP R/30. html Amichai’s view on writing and poetry are taken from his interview in the Lannan Poetry Series http: //www. uvm. edu/~sgutman/Amichai. htm

Sources n n n n http: //www. tekla-szymanski. com/engl 6 amichai. html http: //www. Sources n n n n http: //www. tekla-szymanski. com/engl 6 amichai. html http: //www. marlbororeview. com/feature. html http: //info. jpost. com/2000/Supplements/Amihai/4. html http: //gbh 2000. tripod. com/pasttripping/id 15. html http: //www. jafi. org. il/education/lifecycle/bneimitsva/j. html http: //biblia. com/jesusm/places. htm http: //people. westminstercollege. edu/faculty/mmarkowski /212/2/wwall. html