Words in My Lovesick Blood: Poems by Haim Gouri

Overview

Haim Gouri has been a major figure in Israeli literature since the War of Independence in 1948-1949. The poems collected in Words in My Lovesick Blood, in their original Hebrew and in English translation, introduce Gouri to English-speaking readers and reflect the range of Gouri's extraordinary achievement as a modernist poet from the 1940s to the 1990s. In his work, Gouri documents the spirit of the Palmah generation, the generation that effectively established the State of Israel. His voice is not especially ...
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Overview

Haim Gouri has been a major figure in Israeli literature since the War of Independence in 1948-1949. The poems collected in Words in My Lovesick Blood, in their original Hebrew and in English translation, introduce Gouri to English-speaking readers and reflect the range of Gouri's extraordinary achievement as a modernist poet from the 1940s to the 1990s. In his work, Gouri documents the spirit of the Palmah generation, the generation that effectively established the State of Israel. His voice is not especially patriotic or heroic, but surpassingly humane, testimony to a lyrical mythic and sensual imagination, a complicated and striking Mediterranean sensibility, and a subdued awareness of the tragic facts with which the Jews and the Middle East have had to cope over a lengthy and intricate history. The Hebrew Bible and Greek mythology have a presence in his oeuvre, as does the Nazi Holocaust. Influenced by such Hebrew poets as Yonatan Ratosh, Uri Zvi Greenberg, and Natan Alterman, French symbolist poets Jules Laforgue, Paul Verlaine, and Guillaume Apollinaire, and Russian poets Akhmatova, Pasternak, and Mandelshtam, Gouri also reveals his interior life in his poems - his loves, regrets, doubts, and above all the charm and magic of his poetic vision. In Words in My Lovesick Blood, readers will discover an eloquent and civilized means of experiencing the innumerable vicissitudes of Israeli existence.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gouri is a major figure in Israeli cultural life. Yet his diverse achievements as novelist, journalist, documentary filmmaker and poet (he won the Israel Prize in 1988) have, until now, been little known in America. This well-chosen retrospective, drawn from the septuagenarian's 12 volumes of poetry (which date from the 1940s to the present), is a promising beginning to the reversal of that oversight. Rabbi Chyet, of Hebrew Union College and the Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, successively renders into English 85 pieces. At the end of WW II, Gouri, who had served in an elite unit that was the forerunner of the Israeli Defense Forces, joined the European mission to rescue survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, some of whom were themselves later to fight with him in the 1948-49 War of Independence. The inspiriting consciousness formed by Gouri's generation-"the culture of remembrance," he elegiacally calls it-poignantly resonates in this introductory collection. While never ethically boastful and more secular than religious in tone, Gouri's humane body of crisp modernist verse mingles learned references, Mediterranean sensuousness, melancholy and mundane colloquialism with biblical allusions, Hebraic traditions and a defining sense of the solidarity of a people "born with a knife in their heart." (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814325940
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Translator's Introduction
A Stroll at Night 5
Geneva 1947 7
The Forgotten 11
Journey from Time to Time 15
It Seems to Me 25
Inheritance 27
Little Koti 29
Civil War 35
1923-1958 37
Nocturno 41
Younger Brother 43
His Mother 45
Odysseus 47
Piyyut for the New Year 49
Holiday's End 53
You're No King 55
My Samsons 57
Of the Azazmeh Too 59
Consolations 61
Pictures of Jews 63
April Recollections 67
My Forgotten One 69
Often I Dream Dreams 71
Silk and Silence 73
Piraeus 75
Northern Romance 79
Window-Dreaming with S.A.S. 81
Balodan 83
13 Voices 85
A Little Tourist Office 91
In the Amorite City 93
Flame and Wood 95
As Long as I Have Life 99
Forever 101
Only the Letters 105
I Live Now in an Ancient Book 107
Amulet 109
I Pray You, Forgive Me 111
Pages from the "Nesher Cycle" 115
And This Happened in Prague 123
Traveller 125
Jonah 127
Album 135
Dance 137
Kingdom 139
Signs 141
Thorns 143
Otherwise 145
The Soul of 147
Account Current 149
Jericho 153
Change 155
If 157
You Should Have Seen Her Face 159
Elul 161
A Woman Like Her 163
A Stroll Towards Evening 165
Now the Sun 167
Don't Worry 169
Rachel 173
Last Chance 175
She Stays with Me 177
Remnants of Cloth 179
Smell of the Field 185
Waiting 187
A Wicked King 189
A Crown 193
Scandinavian Postcard 195
Family Album 197
Anniversary of a Death 199
The Dark Side 201
Deferment 205
Another Deferment 207
At Socrates' Side 209
A Final Warning 211
Hotel de Madrid 213
Perfect Peace 215
A National Poet 217
Like Beirut 221
Genetic Defect 223
Homage to Apollinaire 225
A Winter's Tale 229
Not Yet 233
At Matti's with Party Veterans 235
Leaving 237
Eternal Fire 239
Maybe It Will Come to Pass 241
The One Who Came After Me 243
You Can Rest (1976) 247
Notes 249
Collections by Haim Gouri 257
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