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Poets have always talked reverently about unlocking the human heart, but when I read Amichai I wonder who before him actually managed it. This is the real biological substance-the most natural thing in the world, yet he makes it seem like a new thing in poetry... the undersong of a people. -- Ted HughesYehuda Amichai is by now one of the half-dozen leading poets in the world. He has found a voice that speaks across cultural boundaries and a vision so sure that he can make the conflicts of the citizen soldier in modern Israel stand for those of humankind. His wit is considerable: he can say virtually anything and give his words enough sting to defuse both sentimentality and hyperbole. -- Mark Rudman Yehuda Amichai's splendid poems, refined and cast in the desperate foundries of the Middle East, where life and faith are always at stake, exhibit a majestic and Biblical range of the topography of the soul.... He is a psalmist utterly modern, yet movingly traditional. -- Anthony Hecht "Amichai has entered that small accidental, permanent company of poets -- Hikmet, Milosz, Vallejo-who speak for each of us and all of us by redefining our nobility, by speaking to us in his voice of many selves. In a time of vile politics and lost gods, Amichai continues to struggle with both in the midst of everyday life." (Stephen Berg) "Two phrases, as I read through Great Tranquillity: Questions and Answers, occurs to me, both characterizing the book for me: "Consummate tenderness" and "Peace at last." The book is the man....The resignation we overhear in these poems, of consummate tenderness, of peace at last, is a triumph beyond loss and grief, towards an art moving and lovely to make one want to live it with the poet as a deep fulfillment of one's own." (David Ignatow)
About the Author
Yehuda Amichai was born in Wurzburg, Germany, in 1924 and emigrated with his family to Palestine in 1936. Amichai published eleven volumes of poetry in Hebrew, two novels, and a book of short stories. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. In 1982, Amichai received the Israel Prize for Poetry, and he became a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1986. He lived in Jerusalem until his death on September 25, 2000.