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Open Closed Open

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  17 reviews
In poems marked by tenderness and mischief, humanity and humor, Yehuda Amichai breaks open the grand diction of revered Jewish verses and casts the light of his own experience upon them. Here he tells of history, a nation, the self, love, and resurrection. Amichai’s last volume is one of meditation and hope, and stands as a testament to one of Israel’s greatest poets.
Paperback, 204 pages
Published November 6th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published 1998)
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 ·  220 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yesterday, while I was stopped at a red light at an intersection, a man and a woman crossed the street in front of my car. What was unique about these two pedestrians: the man was walking alongside the woman while holding a parasol over her head.

It wasn't a clumsy umbrella, too big or partially broken, it was an honest-to-goodness parasol, and the man's demeanor, as I studied his face as his passed by, wasn't romantic, it was reverent.

There was reverence, deep respect for someone or something in his face as he
I found this compulsively readable in a way that few poetry collections are to me. These are poems told from the perspective of a life lived and pondered; of working through hardships to come to a kind of peace. The craftsmanship is impeccable; line after line is devastatingly beautiful. The book cover of this edition--a simple fragment of brown carved stone set against a faded larger image of the same--nicely sums up many of the themes therein in visual terms.

Almost involuntarily, I shook my h
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I want to sing a psalm of praise to all that remains
here with us and doesn't leave, doesn't wander off like migratory birds,
will not flee to the north or the south, will not sing "In the East is my heart,
and I dwell at the end of the West." I want to sing to the trees
that do not shed their leaves and that suffer
the searing summer heat and the cold of winter,
and to human beings who do not shed their memories
and who suffer more than those who shed everything.
But above all, I want to sing a
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Poetry as clear and deep as water, language that even in English translation keeps the sound of its Hebrew cadences. One of my favorite poets, and poetry books, ever. It tastes like Israel.
Mar 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: verse
Devastating, as always.
Courtney Anthony
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Exquisite. "I Foretell the Days of Yore" is my personal favorite.
Someday I want to be able to read these in the original Hebrew.
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorites books of poetry. The whole is more than the sum of its parts: not everything is great, but read in full it's overwhelming.
Dec 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
God it feels good to read something other than educational theory....lovely metaphors in this one. And nice rhythmic pacing...
Jessica Samuelson
Read for Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge 2017: Task 23--Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Alisha by: David Bespeil
Shelves: poetry
I read this book for a poetry class I'm taking. It is done in format that felt restrictive and repetitive; a poem title, and then ten-twenty individual little poems, some related, and some not. He had some moments of lyricism and emotion; the rest of the lines read like a journal, and seemed banal and (dare I say?) unpoetic.

Not knowing much about Palestine/Israel relations in the early 20th century, or about life in Germany during this time, I didn't understand the heresy implicit in
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect to like this book. Even as I began feeling more and more admiration for some of the passages and lines, I still wanted to dislike it. But by the end, I had to admit to being completely impressed. Although Amichai focuses a lot on his own ego and mortality, there are still so many brilliant turns of phrase and twists on biblical passages, so many references to Israeli life and death, Jewish life and death as to render this an important book in Jewish literature of the 20th century ...more
Seth the Zest
Nov 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2009
I found most of the poems to have flat language that calls little attention to itself. Repeated lines like "What remains? The suitcase in top of the closer,/ that's what remains." offer moderately interesting, if shallow, philosophies.

The best moments in this book are surprises and they come infrequently. Retelling the story of Gideon choosing his army is masterful. So is a tiny section on page 103 "At a pay phone, I saw a woman making a call,/
and crouching at her feet, a larg
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing amazing amazing - the hebrew is actually fairly accessible.
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Amichai's magnum opus! I worked in a bookstore when this came out in hard copy and immersed myself for long periods reading this gem.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016, poetry
I am really, really glad I bought this book before it went out of stock haha.
Edgar Trevizo
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Yehuda Amichai (Hebrew: יהודה עמיחי; 3 May 1924 – 22 September 2000) was an Israeli poet. Amichai is considered by many, both in Israel and internationally, as Israel's greatest modern poet. He was also one of the first to write in colloquial Hebrew.

Yehuda Amichai [was] for generations the most prominent poet in Israel, and one of the leading figures in world poetry since the mid-1960s
“I’ve never been in those places where I’ve never been and never will be, I have no share in the infinity of light-years and dark-years, but the darkness is mine, and the light, and my time is my own. ” 7 likes
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