November 26, 2019 · 4:46 pm
In his beautiful, haunting poem, Summer Evening By A Window With Psalms, widely renowned Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai wishes for a more peaceful and compassionate world, far away from the suffering that he has so often witnessed.
In the third stanza in particular, Amichai draws on images from the Psalms:
I think: how many still waters
would be able to provide a night of stillness,
and how many green pastures, wide as deserts,
would provide an hour of tranquility
and how many valleys of the shadow of death
do we need for there to be a merciful shadow
in the harsh sunlight.
What, indeed, would it take—how many still waters, how many green pastures, how many valleys of the shadow of death would it take for there to be consolation in the modern world? Given the atrocities of the 20th century through which Amichai lived, one can hardly imagine how many it would take. Continue reading →
November 20, 2018 · 2:50 pm
About 40 people came out for a program about The Amichai Windows and ensuing reception at the Beineicke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University in New Haven, CT. The program about Yehuda Amichai’s poetry included Rick Black’s slide show and talk as well as a panel discussion with three Yale professors, Barbara Harshav, Shiri Goren and Katie Trumpener.
The Beinecke purchased the first of 18 copies of this limited edition artist book, which combines 18 Yehuda Amichai poems with multi-layered collages of images from archives around the world. The book is fittingly now housed with the Beinecke’s collection of Yehuda Amichai’s archive, which includes original poems, photos, essays and other memorabilia.
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June 14, 2018 · 9:54 pm
On a visit to Israel in May for a book launch of The Amichai Windows at Tmol Shilshom cafe in Jerusalem, Rick Black had a chance to talk with Ron Nesiel, host of the show, “The Weekly Journal” on Kan-Reshet Bet.
As part of the 20-minute segment, Nesiel also spoke with Hebrew literature Prof. Avner Holtzman of Tel Aviv University about Amichai’s work and played a Yossi Banai song of an Amichai poem, I Told You That it Would be so and You Didn’t Believe.
A link to the Hebrew radio show is here; broadcast on Saturday, May 26, 2018, the segment begins at 42:30 of the hour-long program. For those who would prefer the English, a translation is below . . .
Ron Nesiel: We’ll stay with literature but go from prose to poetry. In any case, we’re marking 60 years since the publication of Yehuda Amichai’s book, Two Hopes Away, which was published 60 years ago by HaKibbutz HaMeuhad in 1958.
Together with his first published book, these two volumes launched a revolution in Hebrew literature in the 1950s. A major motif of both volumes, but in particular of Two Hopes Away, is the window . . . and the motif of looking out and looking in a window is what inspired the creation of a new, extraordinary volume, The Amichai Windows. The creator is Rick Black, a former reporter for The New York Times in Israel. He was here this month and presented his new book at Tmol Shilshom café in Jerusalem, the same café that Yehuda Amichai used to visit. It took Black ten years to complete this project.
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June 10, 2018 · 1:06 pm
The book launch of The Amichai Windows at Tmol Shilshom cafe in Jerusalem attracted a standing room only crowd.
Most of the evening was in Hebrew but I gave a slide show in English. The program also featured Hebrew Literature Professor Ariel Hirschfeld of Hebrew University and Hana Amichai.
My thanks go out to so many people who made the evening possible including but not only Hana Amichai, David Ehrlich, Ariel Hirschfeld and Naama Shahar. And, of course, to Arieh Rudnick who took all of the photos and granted permission to share them.
Hope you’ll enjoy the photo show . . . !
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February 7, 2018 · 4:24 pm
“A poem is like a lullaby that you sing in order to calm yourself.”
A Light By The Window, an exhibition and book launch of The Amichai Windows by artist Rick Black, will be held from 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18th, at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville, MD.
A bilingual Hebrew/English artist book that was 10 years in the making, The Amichai Windows features 18 poems by renown Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. The exhibition will display letterpressed spreads and prints from the book, including multi-layered collages of more than 100 images from archives around the world, replicas of Amichai’s original poems and much more.
Helen Frederick and Judith K. Brodsky, each a leading artist, printmaker and arts advocate, will be on hand to discuss Black’s book, the connection between art and poetry, and the place of limited editions today.
The exhibition will be up from February 15th to February 21st. For more information, please see www.pyramidatlanticartcenter.org
Free admission with light refreshments.
October 10, 2016 · 10:16 pm
Original copy of Amichai’s poem, “Yom Kippur.” Reproduced courtesy of Hana Amichai from the archives of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
Yehuda Amichai frequently argues with God in his poems.
Raised in an Orthodox household, Amichai stopped practicing when he became a teenager — much to the dismay of his father. They argued about God and Jewish ritual practice for years. In fact, Amichai continued to argue with him long after his father died.
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August 4, 2016 · 9:31 pm
When I had the idea of working with a papercut artist on The Amichai Windows, I never thought that I would end up working with the papercut artist who did the ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) when my wife and I got married years earlier. Continue reading →
May 13, 2016 · 5:05 pm
The Amichai Windows has a total of 18 poems. A cross section of poems from Amichai’s ouevre, they’re equally divided between love, war and being a Jew in the 20th century, both in the Diaspora and in Israel. Continue reading →
April 10, 2016 · 6:06 pm
Pyramid Atlantic Letterpress Studio
Letterpress is a type of ‘relief” printing of text and images that is primarily used today for art and wedding invitations, birth announcements and other special occasions. It is done on a cylinder or platen press where a reversed and raised surface is inked and then literally imprinted into the paper itself.
The decision to use letterpress for The Amichai Windows had to do with making the words an integral part of the paper itself. I am also using various plates of images to lend the spreads texture — the outline of a Jerusalem window or a dove or a clock — and to emphasize certain words and letters. Continue reading →
March 2, 2016 · 8:14 pm
Caves at the Dead Sea where the Dead Sea scrolls were found.
“From his earliest poems, archeology has been a primary source of metaphors for Amichai’s perception of the human condition,” wrote Robert Alter, a Hebrew translator and literary scholar, in a New York Times magazine article in 1986. “He sees both the self and history as an elaborate depositing of layers in which nothing is ever entirely buried from sight, in which the earliest strata uncannily obtrude upon the latest.” Continue reading →