Amir Or- Israel

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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.

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