mishol book 88 224.
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Although there are only a handful of previously unpublished poems in Agi Mishol's Korim Dvarim (Things Happen), this pocketbook - part of Hakibbutz Hame'uhad's Zuta collection - succeeds in giving the reader a fresh perspective on Mishol's playful poetry.
Born in Transylvania to Hungarian Holocaust survivors, Mishol grew up in the moshava of Gedera. She studied at Ben-Gurion University and the Hebrew University and moved to Kfar Mordechai with her husband, where she grows peaches in her orchard. In 2003 she received the prestigious Yehuda Amichai prize for poetry.
The semi-rural life the poetess has chosen for herself is played off against the urban metropolis in Mishol's work: the peacock, the olive tree, the geese; the supermarket, the local kiosk and the swimming pool.
From time to time they turn over on their backs
and flutter as though drowning in a larger sense
and their limbs, which have merged into each other
until no longer worthy of their names,
pop up here and there out of the ripples
as though someone up there had given up on trifles
such as these.
("The Swimmers," translated by Lisa Katz)
IN THE new poems, Mishol reminisces and recalls the bittersweet memories of her school years and childhood. "He said that my head was fitting only for a hat" she writes in "Geese," remembering Epstein, a math teacher
"Said that a bird, with a brain like mine,
would only fly backwards" [...]
I like hats,
and always, in the evenings,
when the birds return to the tree,
I search for the one that flies backwards.
IN 2003 MISHOL published a large collection of her work, Mivhar Hadashim, with a foreword by literary critic and Hebrew University professor Dan Miron. In it, Miron pronounced Mishol the greatest Israeli poetess of our generation, a natural successor to Rahel [Blaustein], Leah Goldberg and Dahlia Ravikovitch.
Although this assertion has been disputed by many, Mishol is inarguably one of the country's most popular poets whose unpretentious work resonates deeper than first impressions intimate.