Israel Bar Kohav was born in Israel, the grandchild of Russian immigrants to Ottoman Palestine who numbered among the founders of the city of Tel Aviv. His ancestors took part in what is known as the Second Aliyah, an influential, ideological wave of immigration that took place between 1904 and 1914. During that time, approximately 50,000 Jews arrived in the area, part of the greater emigration of two million Jews from Eastern Europe which lasted from the 1870s until the 1920s.
Bar Kohav grew up in Givatayim and Ramat Gan in the greater Tel Aviv area. A psychologist by profession, he studied at Tel Aviv and Bar Ilan universities, receiving his MA in psychology at Hebrew University; he has also trained at the Metanoia Institute of London, and the Gestalt Institutes of Los Angeles, California and Cleveland, Ohio.
The author of 11 books of poetry, Bar Kohav has served as a senior lecturer at Hebrew University, teaching interdisciplinary courses such “Art and the Self” and “Dreams and Imagination in Art,” and has taught Creative Writing at nearly every institution of higher learning and in every workshop framework in the country. Outside Israel, he has led workshops in Oxford, Glasgow, London, Izmir, Stockholm, and Manchester, among other places, served as poet-in-residence at the Berlin LiteraturRaum in 2010, and been the guest of innumerable international poetry festivals. Bar Kohav is the recipient of an early award for his writing from Hebrew University (1980), as well as the Prime Minister’s Prize (1996), awards from the Tel Aviv Foundation (1991,1999, 2008) and Mifal Hapayis (2008, 2010), and the Natan Yonatan Prize (2012).
According to Israeli poetry critic Erez Schweitzer, “Bar Kohav is an extremely lucid and profound poet” whose work contains “a fascinatingly melancholy quality; intimacy slowly accumulates into a human encounter both simple and rare. [His recent] Selected Poems sets Bar Kohav’s place in the first rank of contemporary Hebrew poets, not merely as the poet’s poet he is often considered to be, but for a broader readership too.” You can read the review in its entirety here.
Poems 1975-1977 [Shirim], Givatayim, Hebrew Book Council, 1977
A Bad Age for Love [Gil ha-ahava ha-paguma], Tel Aviv, Sifiat Hapoalim, 1982
Rules of the Garden [Hokay ha-gan], Tel Aviv, Sifriat Hapoalim, 1987
Medium [Medium], Tel Aviv, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1991
Flight of the Monk [Ma-ofe ha-nazir], Tel Aviv, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1996
Here are 23 [Hinay 23], Tel Aviv, Yaron Golan, 1998
Moon Verses [P’sookay ha-yarayah], Tel Aviv, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1999
Love Soon [Beh-karov ahava], Tel Aviv, Am Oved, 2005
Rumors [Shmooyot], Tel Aviv, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2009
Selected Poems 1975-2010 [Mivkhar hashirim], Bnai Brak, Hakibbutz Hameuchad/Mossad Bialik, 2010
PODCAST: the poet in conversation with Anat Sharon-Blais
VIDEO: from the Writers Reading series
Bar Kohav’s Wikipedia page
Ohio State Lexicon of Contemporary Hebrew Literature entry
In English & German
AUDIO: Listen to the poet read his work in Hebrew while you read translations
For four poems in translation: press on pdf file at this link
The poem ‘Reinado’
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