Renowned Israeli poet Erez Bitton is the 2015 recipient of the Israel Prize in Literature. Bitton, whose bilingual translation You Who Cross My Path is forthcoming from BOA Editions in fall 2015, is the first poet of Mizrahi descent to win this prestigious prize, known widely as the Israeli Nobel Prize. “The five books of poetry [Bitton] published... are the epitome of courageous dealings,” wrote the Israel Prize committee, “sensitive and deep with a wide range of personal and collective experiences centered around the pain of migration, planting roots in the country and the reestablishment of the Mizrahi identity as an integral part of the overall Israeli portrait.” Translated from the Hebrew by Tsipi Keller, BOA's forthcoming You Who Cross My Path is the first U.S. publication of Erez Bitton, one of Israel’s most celebrated poets. The collection recalls the fate of Moroccan Jewish culture with poems both evocative and pure. Considered the founding father of Mizrahi Israeli poetry, a major tradition in the history of Hebrew poetry, Bitton’s bilingual collection dramatically expands the scope of biographical experience and memory, ultimately resurrecting a vanishing world and culture. Blinded as a child by a stray hand grenade he found near his home in Lod, Erez Bitton spent much of his childhood in Jerusalem's School for the Blind. His first two books, A Moroccan Offering (1976) and The Book of Na'na (1979), established him as the founding father of Mizrahi poetry in Israel—the first poet to take on the conflict between North African immigrants and the Ashkenazi society, and the first to use Judeo-Arabic dialect in his poetry. He is the recipient of numerous other awards, including the Bialik Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2014). Bitton currently lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. Click here for The Jerusalem Post, for more on the Israel Prize. You Who Cross My Path is available for pre-order at the BOA Bookstore. April is National Poetry Month! Now through April 30, get FREE SHIPPING on any BOA Bookstore order(s)!
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