Israeli Poetry of the Holocaust

Israeli Poetry of the Holocaust

Israeli Poetry of the Holocaust

Israeli Poetry of the Holocaust


This book is the first in English to address contemporary Israeli poetry of the Holocaust. The unique character of the book consists in its capacity to approach simultaneously the fervent feelings and scalding, emotional scars associated with the Holocaust and the aesthetic 'infrastructure' that is inlaid and operates in the very depth of the poems under consideration.

In this respect, the book functions on two simultaneous levels:it views the emotional strata engaged with the Holocaust while analyzing its literary mechanism from an artistic perspective. The book also turns to the congruence between the very collective nature of contemporary Israeli poetry and the capacity to cope with the Holocaus while enlisting literary means. Hence contemporary Israeli poetry tends to display a poetic might while being also emotionally oriented.

Memory of the Holocaust should never be dimmed by passing years nor by the fact that the last survivors are saying farewell to all earthly things. There are numerous ways to commemorate the Holocaust. This book introduces a very effective way to do so. One may wonder about combining the Holocaust with art. That doubt, however, is proven wrong by this book. Accordingly, it deftly illustrates how an artistic text can deliver the most scorching emotions of the Holocaust. This aesthetic dexterity does not cloud the Holocaust but rather introduces it in the most artistically challenging fashion.

The fact that the Holocaust poetry discussed here is also Israeli poetry makes the book even more important and relevant. One may cogently argue that the sate of Israel was established on the ashes of the Holocaust. If so, the fact that contemporary Israeli poetry is dedicated to the topic of the Holocaust celebrates the victory of humankind over Nazi atrocities. This book should be of interest to students, teachers and scholars of the Holocaust, modern Hebrew/Israeli poetry, and literature in general.


This book focuses on modern Hebrew/Israeli poetry of the Holocaust, which is first and foremost poetry, one that operates like any other bulk of poetry. Correspondingly, it seems paramount to discuss first the nature of poetry. Such a discussion is indeed essential as even many scholars of poetry fail to define plausibly its very essence. Since poetry is both art and literature, it is equally pivotal to launch the book’s poetic discussions by defining art in general and art of literature in particular. Hence, the definitions of art, literature, and poetry are the center of the book’s introduction.

Despite the exceedingly powerful nature of the topic of the Holocaust, relatively few literary studies had been dedicated to that topic. Most of the studies that approach aesthetically Israeli Holocaust poetry were composed and published many years ago. No literary studies have addressed the poems collected in this book. Thus, the latter blazes a new trail in the literary study of Israeli Holocaust poetry. The literary studies introduced in this book have been inspired by some schools of literary criticism, notably Russian formalism, American new criticism, structuralism, and reader-response theories.

As mentioned before, Holocaust poetry is first and foremost poetry. Hence, the aesthetic infrastructure of the poems delivers the message of the Holocaust. It must be analyzed systematically prior to addressing the theme of the Holocaust. Indeed, once the aesthetic probe is completed, the way in which it serves the theme of the Holocaust will be entirely clear. Most of the aesthetic devices that are examined in this book are founded on composition/structure, theme, and rhetoric. Analyzing those literary/aesthetic devices enables the reader to appreciate how those devices mold and dictate the response to the poems by their target audience.

The impression that the nature of poetry is widely known is erroneous. As previously stated, even scholars of poetry quite often fail to define poetry, as well as literature and art. As poetry is a branch . . .

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