As I’m getting started with this blog, I wanted to compile some Amichai links for you about his life and work.
Here are the Amichai links that I have found so far. I’ll post more Amichai links as I become aware of them. In the meantime, I wanted to give you a brief description of the Amichai links so far:
This is a collection of Amichai’s own insights into his poetry and poetry in general taken from his papers that are kept at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. It’s well worth a visit if you’re up in the area. The building itself is a rare treat (here’s a little more on the Beinecke) and Amichai’s papers are — well, Amichai’s papers. There are original manuscripts of poems, letters, essays, speeches, etc.
“Perhaps I am one of the last who must live out to the end the destiny of the Jewish spirit in Europe.” Why “must”? Writing from Paris in August 1948 to relatives in the new state of Israel, Paul Celan, having barely survived the “Final Solution” expedited by Nazism, explains that a poet cannot stop writing, “even when he is a Jew and the language of his poems is German.”
Celan, one of the major German-language poets of the post-WWII era, visited Israel in 1969. Amichai hosted a reception for him in Jerusalem . . . here you can learn more details of their encounter and read the letters that they exchanged.
For nearly 20 years, Henry Lyman hosted a radio program called Poems to a Listener out of WFCR in Amherst, Mass. He interviewed leading American poets of the day — writers like Richard Wilbur, Robert Penn Warren and Jane Kenyon. But one day in 1989, he sat down with the man many consider to be the poetic voice of Israel: Yehuda Amichai.
You can listen to a wonderful interview here and hear Amichai read some of his own poems.
A terrific, wide-ranging interview with Amichai about his life and work.
A good, basic bio of Amichai’s s life and work with links to poems and a bibliography
The Cortland Review published three Amichai poems, all translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld. The poems that you’ll find here are: Ein Yahav, Yad Mordechai, and A Jewish Cemetery in Germany. It doesn’t appear that the audio or intro by Chana Bloch are working but the poem translations are available.