Alex Ben-Ari
(USSR, 1973)   
Alex Ben-Ari

Alex Ben-Ari began writing poetry as a teenager and was first published after his army service. His debut volume of poetry, Yamim Samuiim (Concealed Seas), was awarded honorable mention at the 2008 Metulla Poetry Festival, and the poet is the recipient of the 2015 Helicon/Ramy Ditzanny Poetry Prize.  A translator and co-editor (with Gilad Meiri and Noa Shkargy) of Nanopoetica, a journal of short form literature, Ben-Ari works as a computer engineer. He was born in the Soviet Union and brought to Israel by his parents at the age of three.

Ben-Ari's second book is composed of his original Hebrew haiku, Korat Hasha’ar (The Gatepost). About this genre and its Hebrew incarnations, Ben-Ari told a reporter:

There is something secular and liberated in Hebrew haiku. That is, the original haiku is quite secular, it sanctifies this world, its concreteness, but Japan is immersed in Buddhism, Zen, a cultural tradition that we don’t have. This freedom has a positive aspect. For example, the convention that haiku must always include a word representing the season of the year in which it is written. It has over the centuries led to the development in Japan of a broad vocabulary of images of seasons, such as flowering peach blossoms for spring, distinctions that don’t hold in Israel (where it is always summer more or less) or aren’t culturally relevant here. In Hebrew we start from the beginning. What’s a word for summer: Watermelon? Or perhaps, sandals?

Ben-Ari is married to poet Orit Gidali and the father of four.

© Lisa Katz


Yamim Samuiim (Concealed seas). Carmel, Jerusalem 2008
Korat Hasha’ar (The Gatepost). An anthology of haiku. Mossad Bialik, Jerusalem, 2015


In Hebrew
An interview with the poet
Alex Ben-Ari’s blog
Eli Hirsh on ‘To be a ripe peach, eaten’
A review of The Gatepost

The poet’s cover versions of hit songs

Video lectures
‘On the connection between writing computer code and writing poetry’
‘How to write a cover version of a hit song’

On the Nanopoetica journal

Sponsored by Poetry Place


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