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T. Carmi

(1925 - 1994)


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Born as Carmi Charney in New York in a Hebrew-speaking home, T. Carmi was educated at Yeshiva University and Columbia University before moving to Eretz Yisrael in 1947. During the War of Independence he fought on the Jerusalem front and then served as an officer in the air force. For many years Carmi worked as an editor, both of the literary journal "Massa" and of children's and young adult literature. In addition to composing poetry, he served on the repertory company of the Habimah Theater, and translated dramatic works into Hebrew, including plays by Shakespeare. Carmi was also a visiting scholar of literature at many distinguished academic institutions, among them Brandeis, Stanford, Yale, and Oxford Universities.

Carmi's first book of poetry, "Mum ve-Halom" ("Blemish and Dream"), was published in 1950, and was followed by several other volumes of verse. "Ein Prahim Shehorim" ("No Black Flowers," 1953) draws on his experience with refugee children in France at the end of World War II. Influenced by contemporary American poetry, Carmi's work is marked by distinct, precise imagery, with a frequent recourse to irony. His language encompasses multiple layers of Hebrew, ranging from ancient textual Hebrew to the modern vernacular. Four volumes of verse were published in conjunction with work by a graphic artist, including woodcuts, lithographs, etchings, and drawings. Two of his collections have been translated into English: The Brass Serpent (1964) and Somebody Like You (1971). Carmi participated in several international poetry festivals and was awarded many prizes for his poetry.

Carmi was also an editor of The Modern Hebrew Poem Itself (1965) and editor and translator of The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse (1981).


Sources: The Pedagogic Center, The Department for Jewish Zionist Education, The Jewish Agency for Israel, (c) 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, Director: Dr. Motti Friedman, Webmaster: Esther Carciente

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