"In Bar-Yosef one finds again the religion that finds the sacrerd in the secular, as Scholem used Whitman to explain his own faith. Each of her poems adds up to a prayer-book, a niggun, and a place in time. . . . Her poems have the folded propriety and wild nights of Emily Dickinson. . . . [Her late work] is sometimes as cutting and flamboyant and painful as Tsvetaeva."—David Shapiro, from his Introduction
"Hamutal Bar-Yosef writes passionately and wisely about the convergence of historical tragedy and personal suffering. "I am a poisoned well," she declares in a prefatory poem, and then dives to the bottom of grief—the death of her brother in Israel's 1948 War of Independence, the suicide of a teenage son--and renders her losses movingly, without a trace of bathos or self-pity. Night, Morning is the perfect title for this selection of her poems, for here she juxtaposes death with the freshness of hibiscus, the beauty of a green leaf, the stirrings of love. Her rebirth in poetry comes clear in "The Tower of Tevits," a modern version of the biblical attack, where she recalls, "I screamed on the roof of the tower," and then, "There I learned to sing." In its investigation of personal and world sorrow, her work is on a par with that of the best poets writing today."—Grace Schulman
"A reasonably discerning reader of Hamutal Bar-Yosef in translation will find that although her poems are written about her life, which has been tragic and sometimes glorious, Israel, the Jews and their culture, life and the world—all very big subjects—her writing is such that if she were writing about a soap bubble she would be immediately recognizable as a great poet."—Stanley Moss
Translated by Rachel Tzvia Back
HAMUTAL BAR-YOSEF has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the The Jerusalem Prize for Poetry (1997), The President of Israel Prize for Poetry (2002) and the Brenner Prize (2005). Her poems have been translated into English, French, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic and Yiddish. She has been a visiting professor in Paris, Moscow and at Columbia University in New York. She lives in Jerusalem.