Welcome to The Amichai Windows, a limited edition artist book of Yehuda Amichai poems.
The Amichai Windows opens a window onto love, war, and being Jewish in the 20th century in Israel and abroad. It is a visual odyssey through Jewish history as filtered through 18 Amichai poems.
One of the great modern Hebrew poets, Amichai was often considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature and his poems have been translated into more than 30 languages.
Here are some reactions from a few private showings in Israel and America — exhibitions are in the works.
“A wonderful emotional and visual window into the poetry of Yehuda Amichai.” Hana Amichai, widow of Yehuda Amichai
“The noise of the world was quieted last evening and we were all given a wonderful gift.” Myra Sklarew, American Jewish poet and scholar
“An exquisite presentation of 18 Amichai poems lovingly crafted . . .” Robert Alter, Hebrew literary translator and critic
“A visual and tactile feast—not only does one become immersed in the words and images but one must reveal and discover the poems, too . . . a marvelous experience and a must for fine artist book collectors.” Andi Arnovitz, American Israeli printmaker and multi-media artist
“I am still in awe of the entire production. I continue to look at each poem, one by one, studying the images, with great admiration for the entire creative process.” Gary Rendsburg, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History, Rutgers University
“The Amichai Windows is a work of devotion. Over many years Black researched, discovered pathways through, and lived with the words of Yehuda Amichai. His lyrical immaculate letterpress compositions combined with photographs and collaged materials allow the viewer the same genuine experience when turning the leaves of this extensive bilingual publication. Not many artist books have the depth of visual and cultural literacy as “The Amichai Windows.” It bears the journeys of the poet and the bookmaker who both walked meditative steps in Jerusalem, and mutually came upon their own certain truths written in words that bear witness.” Helen Frederick, American artist, curator and educator
“A phenomenal piece of work.” Yehuda Miklaf, Jerusalem fine art bookbinder and printer
“What a stunning book! The Amichai Windows is marked by so much love, care and brilliance in the spirit of the old school makers of illuminated books. Black is a spiritual artisan and visionary.” Kwame Dawes, award-winning poet, essayist, playwright and editor-in-chief of Prairie Schooner
“Rick Black has created a gorgeous, deep and richly complex piece of art that feels endless in its capacity to evoke emotions, thoughts and sensations about Amichai, Israel, Judaism, life, and what lies between words, form and matter.” Assaf Harel, Assistant Professor of Israel Studies, Department of Judaic Studies, Binghamton University
“An amazing work of art.” Irene Lazar, Canadian Israeli art collector
“A wonderful book! Both Yair and I loved it. The level of craftsmanship, detail, use of materials and design are all so impressive. And for me, it’s an introduction to some poetry that I expect to explore further.” Marsha Goldberg, American Jewish artist
“What an incredible undertaking—beautiful, moving, powerful.” Ed and Shelley Grossman, leaders of the Amichai poetry study group, Temple Micah
“Such a beautiful labor of love. You have contributed greatly to the world with your art and Amichai’s poems.” Barbara Green, member, Amichai poetry study group, Temple Micah
“A glorious match for a glorious poet.” Herman Schwartz, member, Amichai poetry study group, Temple Micah
It is impossible to replicate the experience of opening each poem and discovering a different world within.
Each poem is wrapped and folded in an individual, handmade paper triptych and collected in an enclosure resembling a Jerusalem window. These photo montages span millennia in terms of geographic and temporal references, including birds and flight, exile, dislocated clock hands, Jewish ritual objects and, of course, curtains and windows.
The book incorporates replicas of some of Amichai’s original, handwritten poems found among his papers at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Images of Jewish history and life have been culled from archives around the world. A special introduction has been written by Hebrew literary critic and translator, Professor Robert Alter.
In the works for 10 years, the book has been issued in a limited edition of 18 copies that is meant primarily for libraries, museums and artist book collectors. All of the poems have been letterpressed and blind embossments have been hidden in the design. Gold leaf has been used to highlight some of the poems and design elements.
In our blog, we document the making of this artist book and discuss Amichai’s poetry. If you would like to receive our occasional blog posts, please just sign up in the box to the upper right. We will be letting you know of upcoming programs and exhibitions as well as reflecting on the making of this unique artist book.
For inquiries about purchasing, please contact Rick Black through the email listed on our contact page.