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Avraham Shlonsky

(1900 - 1973)


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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 Published in Hebrew
The Ice Mine, Keter, 1997 [Michreh Ha-Kerah]
All That I Have Loved, Keter, 1999 [Col Asher Ahavti]
The Story of a Life, Keter, 1999 [Sipur Haim]
Distress, Hedim, 1924 [Dwai]
To Mother-Father, Ktuvim, 1927 [Le-Aba-Ima]
In a Wheel, Davar, 1927 [Ba-Galgal]
In These Days, 1930 [Be-Ele Ha-Yamim]
Thou Shall Not Kill, Yachdav, 1930 [Lo Tirtzah]
Stones of Void, Yachdav, 1934 [Avnei Bohu]
Poems of Collapse and Reconciliation, Yachdav, 1938 [Shirei Ha-Mapolet Ve Ha-Pius]
Poems and Days, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1946 [Shirei Ha-Yamim]
Inlaid With Jewels, Sifriat Poalim, 1947 [Al Mil'et]
Mickey Who? (children), Sifriat Poalim, 1947 [Alilot Miki Mahu]
Poems (two volumes), Sifriat Poalim, 1954 [Shirim]
Selected Writings, Sifriat Poalim, 1955 [Ketavim Nivharim]
Me and Tali in Lhama Country (children), Sifriat Poalim, 1957 [Ani Ve-Tali Be-Eretz Ha-Lama]
Selected Poems, Yachdav, 1967 [Yalkut Shirim]
Rough Stones, Sifriat Poalim, 1968 [Avnei Gvil]
Rough Stones, Sifriat Poalim, 1968 [Avnei Gvil]Poems from the Long Corridor, Sifriat Poalim, 1968 [Mi-Shirei Ha-Prozdor Ha-Aroch]
Selected Works, Sifriat Poalim, 1971 [Ketavim]
Utzli-Gutzli (play), Am Oved, 1970 [Utz-Li Gutz-Li]
To 70 Years Old Abraham Shlonsky, Sifriat Poalim, 1973 [Le-Abraham Shlonsky Ben Ha-Shivim]
The Book of Ladders, Sifriat Poalim, 1973 [Sefer Ha-Sulamot]
Facing the Desert, Sifriat Poalim, 1973 [Mul Ha-Yeshimon]
The Complete Works of Avraham Shlonsky (10 volumes), Sifriat Poalim, 1972-1973 [Kitvei Abraham Shlonsky]
Chapters of a Diary, Sifriat Poalim, 1981 [Pirkei Yoman]


Sources: 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.

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