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Open Closed Open: Poems Paperback – November 6, 2006
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Throughout the collection, Amichai returns again and again to this convergence. In "Once I Wrote 'Now and in Other Days.' Thus Glory Passes, Thus the Psalms Pass," for example, he chronicles the destruction of Huleh swamp, an open ecosystem drained by the Israeli government during the 1950s to fight malaria and provide arable land:
Now half a century later they are filling it with water againIndeed, Amichai's misgivings seem to extend to the very foundations of the modern Israeli state. Might not the "bright-colored birds" who fled the swamp "for their lives" be figures for the displaced Palestinians? Huleh, we learn, was eventually restored. But sowing the seeds of peace is as precarious an enterprise as rebuilding a fragile ecosystem.
because it was a mistake. Perhaps my entire life
I've been living a mistake
Elsewhere, "My Son Was Drafted" records a father's concern and fear for his military-age child. Amichai wishes his son were joining an army without a war, where soldiers serve as decorations around monuments, where the ornate and impractical replace the camouflaged and tactical. But here, too, the father has a few spiritual heirlooms to pass on to his son, which incidentally allow him to open up yet another closed system:
I would like to add two more commandments to the ten:A man, Amichai suggests, is more pliable once he has been opened up, refreshed, newly defined. Cultures, alas, are not so flexible. But the rich language of Open Closed Open, which has been meticulously translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld, holds out the hope that nations, too, might submit to the Twelfth Commandment. --Ryan Kuykendall --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
the Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not change,"
and the Twelfth Commandment "Thou shalt change. You will change."
My dead father added those for me.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In his poetry, he intertwines subjects such as love, holocaust, the bible, and day-to-day life, in a subtle way. His metaphors are amazingly beautiful, especially due to the fact that he uses really simple vocabulary. He plays with ideas, not with words.
In "Open Closed Open", I like the way he writes about bible figures as men (or women) and for a moment reminds us of their reality, not their power and superiority. I also love the comparisons he builds between orthodox and non-observant customs. IMHO, this is his best book.
I have read the book both in Hebrew and in English, and this version is very well translated, even though the translator changes the order of the poems (I cannot understand the reason).
If you want to learn Hebrew, he is a very good source. I know that in Israel there are several bilingual versions of his books (not this one, unfortunately). You should look for them. That's the way I did it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I cannot say if this represents the best of Yehuda Amichai or whether his earlier work was better but it is "for the ages." Amichai forever.Published on July 29, 2008 by Frederick Hecht
There is a translation mistake on p. 45: "God's love for His people Israel is... almost violent", should be: 'almost anonymous' (note the continuation: "on a no-name basis"), as a... Read morePublished on January 9, 2007 by Ein Leser