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Dalia Rabikovitch

(1936 - 2005)

Born in Ramat Gan, Dalia Rabikovitch was educated on Kibbutz Geva, went to high school in Haifa, and then studied at the Hebrew University. She taught high school for a number of years.

Her early poems appeared in the 1950s in Hebrew poet Avraham Shlonsky's journal, “Orlogin.” In addition to her poetry, Rabikovitch has written some prose as well as several children's' books. She has translated poetry by William Butler Yeats, Edgar Allan Poe and T.S. Eliot into Hebrew, as well as the children's' story, “Mary Poppins.”

After the war in Lebanon (1982), she became active in the Israeli peace movement.

Her early poems were romantic, complete with the lure of exotic, distant places. Love and lust are occasionally overwhelming in her poetry. She also wrote about mythological figures, including palaces and kings, dream worlds and fairy tales, magic and witchcraft.

Her later work was marked by satire and sarcasm with free-flowing language that becomes almost colloquial. At the center of all her poems is a speaker with great sensitivity who conveys a fervent intellectualism and deep emotional perception.

“Dalia Rabikovitch is one of the main pillars of Hebrew poetry,” wrote the committee that decided to award her the Israel Prize in 1999. “Her songs are a personal testament of solitude, forbidden love and a desperate struggle for existence, while at the same time expressing universal truths and the experiences of many.”

In addition to winning the Israel Prize, Rabikovitch won the Bialik prize.

Rabikovitch was found dead in her Tel Aviv home on August 22, 2005. Rabikovitch suffered from depression, and had tried to commit suicide a number of times in the past.

Sources: Haaretz, (August 22, 2005); Joint Authority for Jewish Zionist Education