Amen (Magill's Literary Annual 1978)
Amen is a private yet universal prayer which the reader is privileged to overhear. It continues Amichai’s sensitive response to love, war, and loss begun in Poems, his first collection translated into English by Assia Gutman in 1969. Another volume, Songs of Jerusalem and Myself, published in 1973 and translated by Harold Schimmel, contained selections from three volumes of Amichai’s Hebrew poems. Finally, in 1977, the poet himself has translated his work, with the aid of Ted Hughes, so that his own voice, tone, and cadence come through. However, at times there are problems of phrasing which cause some awkwardness or ambiguity and problems of sound or rhythm. Despite these problems, however, Amen successully echoes the restless soul of Yehuda Amichai.
Born in Würzburg, Germany, in 1924, Amichai emigrated with his family to Palestine in 1936. Since 1948 he has published poems, novels, and plays in Hebrew. He is highly respected and successful to the point of being often published in newspapers and read over the radio in Israel. Today he is Israel’s leading contemporary poet and had also earned his place among contemporary world poets.
Amen is lyric poetry at its best. The restless soul of Amichai drives him to record the external, pathetic, and dark pictures of people in wartorn Jerusalem and...
(The entire section is 1661 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!