A book artist and poet, Rick Black has loved the poetry of Yehuda Amichai for many years. He felt as though he had found a sensibility akin to his own. He loved Yehuda Amichai’s poems about family as well as those about love and war.
Black lived in Jerusalem for six years, initially studying Hebrew literature on a scholarship at The Hebrew University. Subsequently, he got a job at the Associated Press, where he wrote and translated articles from the Hebrew newspapers plus the hourly news broadcasts. There was little time to think about what was being reported or to try to make sense of it.
After three months, another reporting job opened up at The New York Times. Working at the Times turned out to be much easier than the AP. At the Times, Black wrote cultural, business and travel pieces while also providing translations of the Hebrew press, TV and radio news.
At the start of the Persian Gulf war in 1991, he carried a gas mask kit in Jerusalem and “sealed up” a room in his own apartment like everyone else. It was absurd, of course, but even more so in Jerusalem, a city that symbolizes peace.
Upon returning to the States, Black got a job as the press liaison at the Israeli consulate in Philadelphia. He ghost wrote op-ed pieces for the consul general, coordinated media coverage of events and spoke to the Jewish community about the conflict in the Middle East — and that’s when he got to meet Hana and Yehuda Amichai.
In 2003, Black was walking down 27th Street in New York City when he saw a huge banner, “Center for Book Arts.” Inside a well-lit studio, he fell in love with the poetry broadsheets, the huge guillotine paper cutters, the old-fashioned book presses and Vandercook printers. He started taking classes in basic bookbinding, miniature books, pop-ups, Japanese bookbinding and other subjects.
Two years later, he founded a small poetry press. He named it to reflect people’s need to slow down and share each other’s light—hence, Turtle Light Press. Two years later, Black suggested a limited edition artist book of Yehuda Amichai’s work to Amichai’s widow, Hana–and the result has been the production of The Amichai Windows.
To learn more about Black’s life and work, please visit his bio at Turtle Light Press.