Amir Or
(Israel, 1956)   
Amir Or

A poet who combines the mysteries of the spirit with the joys of the flesh, curious about mythology while carefully examining the Hebrew language.

Amir Or was born in 1956 in Tel Aviv. He has published seven books of poetry and several poetry collections in translation. Or studied philosophy and comparative religion at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he later lectured on ancient Greek religions. He has published articles on poetry, classical and religious studies, and has taught these subjects. He has also published several books of translations, among which are The Gospel of Thomas (1992), Limb-Loosening Desire; An Anthology of Erotic Greek Poetry (1993), Stories From The Mahabharata (1998) and To a Woman by Shuntaro Tanikawa (2000), with Akiko Takahashi.

Or has been chief editor of the Helicon Society for the Advancement of Poetry in Israel since its foundation. He has initiated and developed Helicon projects and currently serves as editor of its journal and poetry book series, as well as director of its Hebrew-Arabic poetry school. He also serves as art director of the Sha‛r Festival for new Hebrew and Arabic poetry and as local coordinator for ‘Poets for Peace’, the UN-sponsored venture.

Amir Or’s poetry reveals a deep interest in old myths and remote cultures. Or richly makes use of all types of Hebrew in order to represent different periods in the development of the language. The poet often investigates both human relationships and historical, cultural and historic matters and involves poetic masks through which his gaze focuses on the world in an original and extraordinary manner.

Amir Or’s poems have been translated and published into more than 20 languages. He has taken part in many international literary conferences and festivals, and worked as a guest writer at several cultural institutions. He has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for his poetry, the Bernstein Award and the Holon Award; and for his translations of poetry from ancient Greek, he has received an honorary award from the Israeli Ministry of Culture.

© Rami Saari

Language Says
Some Say Life
A Glass of Beer
I Look Through Monkey’s Eyes
The Barbarians

Also on this site
Poetry and the sacrifice of being
English writer Fiona Sampson on the work of Amir Or.

On the connection between ‘I’ and ‘you’
Israeli literary critic Ariel Hirschfeld on Or’s speakers and listeners.

I step into your shoes and become a part of you
PIW editor Rami Saari on Or’s ‘A Glass of Beer’.

“I composed poetry before I knew how to write”
American poet Lynn Levin interviews Amir Or

In Hebrew
Shir Tahira(The Song of Tahira). Xargol, 2001.
Yom (Day). Ha-kibbutz Ha-meuchad & Tag, 1998.
Shir (Poem). Ha-kibbutz Ha-meuchad, 1996.
Kakha (So!). Ha-kibbutz Ha-meuchad, 1995.
Pidyon ha-met. (Ransoming The Dead), Helicon-Bitan, 1994.
Panim (Faces). Am Oved, 1991.
Ani mabbit me-‛eyney ha-qofim (I Look Through The Monkeys’ Eyes). Eqed, 1987.

In English
Poem. Dublin, Dedalus publishers, 2004.
Language Says. Chattanooga, PM publications, 2001.
Miracle. Bilingual edition, Dublin, Poetry Ireland, 1998.

In Macedonian
Davej se, disam ziva voda. Skopje, Peliades series of the SPE poetry festival, 2000.

In Arabic
As-sha‛ru Fattatu l-Mujrimin. Paris, Faradis publishers, 1995 .

Individual poems by Amir Or have been published in Arabic, Armenian, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Malayalam, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

In English
Poetry Life and Times
Or’s biography, his photos and some poems.

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Or’s article ‘Hebrew Poetry in the New Millennium’ and some poems by several Israeli poets translated into English.

Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature
Catalog with a special page dedicated to Amir Or.

Many poems by Or in English translation.

An anthology which includes some poems by Or.

A page dedicated to Helicon Society for the Advancement of Poetry in Israel with links to several anthologies of Israeli poets in translation, among them Amir Or.

Poem in five parts by Amir Or translated by Helena Berg and a link to Or’s bio.

An article about the state of science fiction in Israel with reference to Or’s book Shir Tahira.

Christian Science Monitor
An article titled ‘Love of verse unites Arabs and Jews’ which deals with a program founded by Amir Or.

In Greek
An article on Or by Vasilis Rouvalis, published in Eleytherotypia in February 2005.

In Hebrew
A page dedicated to Or’s biography and to his publications.

My City
An interesting interview with Or about poetry and mysticism.
Eli Eshed’s article about Or’s poetry and its controversial place in contemporary Hebrew poetry.

In Japanese
Some poems of Or in Japanese.

A short biography and a list of publications with some links.

In Macedonian
Information concerning Or’s poems translated to Macedonian by Zoran Anchevski.

In Russian
Some poems by Or translated to Russian by Gali-Dana Singer.

Some Israeli poems concerning language, one of them by Amir Or, all translated by Vladimir Lazaris.

In Slovak
Ars Poetica
Six of Or’s poems translated by Zuzana Szatmáry.


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