Yehuda Amichai was first brought to attention in this country by his inclusion in Modern Poetry in Translation (1965). The magazine’s editors, Daniel Weissbort and Ted Hughes, here provide a selection of Amichai’s poetry translated by various hands, placing his achievements alongside those other Eastern European poets with whom he was first introduced – Zbigniew Herbert, Miroslav Holub, Vasko Popa, Czeslaw Milosz and Andrei Voznesensky – while demonstrating what makes his own talent so unique. In Ted Hughes’s words, Amichai was ‘the poet whose books I still open most often, most often take on a journey, most often return to when the whole business of writing anything natural, real and satisfying, seems impossible.
And that after thirty years of feeling the same way about him. The effect his poetry has on me is to give me my own life – to open it up somehow, to make it available to me afresh, to uncover all kinds of riches in every moment of it, and to free me from my mental prisons’.
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