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Yehuda Amichai Biography | Poet

Photo of Yehuda Amichai
Yehuda Amichai (1924 - 2000) was an Israeli poet. Amichai is considered by many to be the greatest modern Israeli poet, and was one of the first to write in colloquial Hebrew. His writings often dealt with the issues of day-to-day life, and were less overtly literary than many nineteenth century Hebrew poets such as Hayyim Nahman Bialik. His writings are characterized by gentle irony and the pain of damaged love. It was a love for people, for a religion and for a land, most of all it was a love for the city of Jerusalem.

Amichai was born in Würzburg, Germany, as Ludwig Pfeuffer, then immigrated with his family to Palestine in 1936. He fought in the World War II (British Army Jewish Brigade) and the Israeli War of Independence as a young man. He became an advocate of peace and reconciliation in the region, working with Palestinian writers.

He was "discovered" in 1965 by Ted Hughes, who later translated several of Amichai's books.

"He should have won the Nobel Prize in any of the last 20 years," wrote Jonathan Wilson in The New York Times (December 10, 2000), "but he knew that as far as the Scandinavian judges were concerned, and whatever his personal politics, which were indubitably on the dovish side, he came from the wrong side of the stockade."

Yehuda Amichai: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes