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Hebrew Literature

Gilboa, Amir

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amir gilboa

Amir Gilboa (1917 - 1984; b. the Ukraine) studied at a Hebrew school and immigrated to Palestine illegally in 1937. He worked intermittently in kibbutzim, stone quarries and British Army camps. He eventually joined the British Army's Jewish Brigade and served in Egypt, North Africa and Italy. Towards the end of World War II he arrived with the Jewish Brigade in the Netherlands and Belgium and participated in the illegal transfer of Jews to Italian ports from where they were taken to Palestine. Gilboa also fought in Israel's War of Independence, and his military experience figures heavily in his early poems. He was an editor at Massada Publishing House. Gilboa received numerous prizes for his work, including the prestigious Israel Prize. He translated Vinogradoff and Amado, as well as others, into Hebrew. Consistently one of the most original and experimental of Hebrew poets, Gilboa's work combines the traditional with the current, and the personal with the national, in what is a conscious break with the poetic trends which ruled at the beginning of his career. Gilboa rejects the traditional use of biblical figures to make moral or nationalistic statements, preferring to identify with them personally, drawing direct parallels between past and present. Occasionally playful, sometimes nightmarish, Gilboa's poems often take on the perspective of the child, or the verse will have adult and child exchanging roles. Introspection and ambiguity are inherent in Gilboa's writing. His unconventional approach set the stage for those poets who matured during the 50s and especially for younger writers who emerged in the 60s and 70s.

Books Published in Hebrew

  • For a Sign (poetry), Orha, 1942 [La-Ot]
  • Seven Dominions (poetry), Sifriat Poalim, 1949 [Sheva Rashuyot]
  • Songs in the Early Morning (poetry), Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1953 [Shirim Ba-Boker Ba-Boker]
  • Selected Poems (poetry), Machbarot Le-shira, 1962 [Amir Gilboa-Mivhar Shirim]
  • Blues and Reds (poetry), Am Oved, 1963 [Kehulim Va-Adumim]
  • Gili's Water Man (children), Sifriat Poalim, 1963 [Ish Ha-Mayim Shel Gili]
  • To Write the Lips of Those Asleep (poetry), Am Oved, 1968 [Ratziti Lichtov Siftei Yeshenim]
  • Gazelle I'll Send You (poetry), Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1972 [Ayala Eshlach Otach]
  • Poems from Here and There (poetry), Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1979 [Ktaf-Shirim Mi-Kan U-Mi-Kan]
  • Everything Goes (poetry), Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1985 [Ha-Col Holech]
  • Collected Poems (two volumes), Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1987 [Shirim]

Copyright © The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature.
Reprinted by kind permission of The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature. First published on the website of The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature: www.ithl.org.il

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