This stunning anthology gathers together the riches of poetry in Hebrew from 'The Song of Deborah' to contemporary Israeli writings. Pre-tenth century verse shows the development of piyut, or liturgical poetry, retells episodes from the Bible and exalts the glory of God. Medieval works introduce secular ideas in love poems, wine songs and rhymed narratives, as well as devotional verse for specific religious rituals. Themes such as the longing for the homeland run through the ages, especially in verse written after the rise of the Zionist movement, while poems of the last century marry Biblical references with the horrors of the Holocaust. Together these works create a moving portrait of a rich and varied culture through the last 3,000 years.
The poems are presented simultaneously in the original Hebrew and in English prose translation. This volume includes an introduction discussing the development of Hebrew verse through different periods, countries and poetic forms; notes on medieval genres and systems of versification; and a bibliography, glossary and notes.