Amichai (born: Ludwig Pfeuffer) is primarily known as a prolific and prize-winning modern Hebrew poet — his honors include the Israel Prize – but he also wrote fiction, drama and essays. [in search of photo(s); meanwhile, see links below for pictures]
Amichai is rare, if not unique, among Israeli poets of the later 20th Century in that he regularly makes use of religious language and metaphors. This provides a bridge into Hebrew poetry for readers familiar with biblical and prayer vocabulary but with little contemporary Hebrew exposure.
A Few Amichai Web Resources
Amichai on himself
Short biography and bibliography of works in English
“The Untranslatable Amichai,” an essay by Robert Alter, 1994.
Yehuda Amichai at Wikipedia
His papers are now housed at the Yale University Library Judaica Collection.
More, including audio introduction to Amichai, from Vermont professor Huck Gutman.
Study Group, E-Group
The “Hebrew Poetry Group” (aka “Amichai study group”) at Temple Micah (Washington, DC) has been reading and discussing poems of Yehuda Amichai since 2004. Reading is in Hebrew and English; discussion in English. Those in the area are welcome to join the discussion which follows services, twice each month (website lists schedule). Readers everywhere are invited to read and comment on Amichai-related postings here. We also operate an e-group which is open to all via the “join the discussion” link above or through Google Groups (look for “HebrewPoetryAtMicah”).
We are currently exploring earlier poems — some found in The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, edited by Robert Alter. (NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015), and some in Yehuda Amichai: A Life in Poetry, 1948-1994, translated by Benjamin & Barbara Harshav (NY: Harper Collins, 1994). We have also branched out, so to speak, and combine other poets in our study sessions. Currently reading: Leah Goldberg.
English readers should be aware that, for a number of reasons, many poems were not translated from the Hebrew. Our group creates ad hoc translations for those without English counterparts. These are often not very “poetic,” but if there is interest, we can begin posting our efforts — let us know.
Our group has been through, and highly recommends, Patuach Sagur Patuach [Open Closed Open] which is available in in Hebrew (Tel Aviv: Schocken, 1998) and in English (NY: Harcourt, 2000; Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld, translators; available in hardcover and trade paper). No bilingual edition is available (yet).