by Ilana Kurshan

Lea Goldberg

Forgotten Foremother

My days are engraved in my poems/ like years in the rings of a tree writes Lea Goldberg (1911-1970), one of Israel’s classic poets and the author often collections of verse. Raised in Russia and Lithuania, Goldberg received a Ph.D. in Semitic studies in Germany before she emigrated to Palestine in 1935. She lived first in Tel Aviv, where she worked as an editor and theater consultant, and then in Jerusalem, where she established Hebrew University’s Department of Comparative Literature. But Goldberg never forgot her formative years in Europe, and she writes poignantly of the “heartache of two homelands” in verses that span not just two continents, but the full landscape of the human heart. Her recently released Selected Poetry and Drama (Toby Press, 2005, $14.95), poetry translated by Rachel Tzvia Black and prose by T. Carmi, offers many English-speaking readers their first chance to know this remarkable woman and writer.

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