Avraham Shlonsky was born to a Chassidic family in the Ukraine. He immigrated to Eretz Israel [Palestine] in 1922 and worked at first in agriculture and later as a journalist, editor and translator. His many translations into Hebrew include Hamlet and King Lear, as well as a number of the Russian classics. Among the most significant of modern Hebrew poets, he had a great impact on the work of a large circle of young writers.
From the outset, Shlonsky's poetic style differed
significantly from anything previously written in Hebrew.
Understanding the dialectical relationship between innovation and
tradition, his early work reflects the hopeful transition from old to
new. Shlonsky saw human isolation in the modern city during a
year-long stay in Paris, and was exposed to the horrors of the Holocaust
on a visit to post-war Europe. These experiences resulted in sharp,
painful expressions of alienation, fear, grief and terror in his
poetry. Much of his later work expresses questioning and doubt, and
even the return to rich melodies and images in Shlonsky's final
collection is underscored by dismal, tragic meaning. He contributed
to the creation of modern Hebrew poetry and significanly influenced
the poets of his generation. He fought against Bialik's
generation, striving for a new poetry. Abraham Shlonsky is widely
recognized as one of the great Hebrew poets of the twentieth century.
Books in Translation
Source: Copyright The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature. Reprinted by kind permission of The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature, Ramat Gan Israel. The Institute web site contains biographies of 300 Israeli authors.