Bat-Miriam, Yocheved 1901–1980(?)

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Bat-Miriam, Yocheved 1901–1980(?)

PERSONAL: Born 1901, in Keplits, White Russia (now Belarus); died 1980 (some sources say 1979), in Israel; children: one son. Education: Attended University of Odessa and University of Moscow. Religion: Jewish.


AWARDS, HONORS: Israel prize, 1972.



Me-Rahok (title means "From Afar"), Keren Zangvil be-London (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1931, reprinted, Ha-Kibuts ha-me'uhad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1985.

Rey'ayon (title means "Interview"), Davar (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1940, reprinted, 1983.

Demuyot me-Ofek (title means "Images from the Horizon"), Mahbarot le-Sifrut (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1941.

Erets Yisra'el (title means "Land of Israel"), Mahberto Lesifrut (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1942.

Shirim la-Geto (title means "Ghetto Verse"), Sifriyat Po'Alim (Merhavyah, Israel), 1943.

Shirim (title means "Verse"), Sifriyat Po'alim (Merhavyah, Israel), 1963.

SIDELIGHTS: Born in White Russia (now Belarus), Jewish poet Yocheved Bat-Miriam found it difficult to get her verse published after a Soviet communist regime took power in her homeland. The year was 1922 and Bat-Miriam was in her early twenties. However, her poems soon began to appear in Hebrew journals in other countries. In 1929, she moved to Palestine, and her first volume of Hebrew poetry, Me-Rahok, was published in 1931.

Written when she was a young woman, Bat-Miriam's initial poems are deeply personal and romantic. Much of her poetry focuses on the Jewish home and the lot of Jewish women, and she also wrote about the Bible, focusing primarily on the Bible's female figures. She was a traditionalist in her poetry, looking back longingly on Jewish heritage and the Russian Jews' long-lost way of life. A reflection of this traditionalism is that Bat-Miriam, a small and fragile woman, almost always wore traditional black garments and was known to address people in the third person, an antiquated manner of addressing people respectfully.

In Erets Yisra'el, Bat-Miriam focuses her muse on creating nationalistic poems of Israel, then her adopted homeland. She also wrote about Jewish ghetto life. Throughout her poetry, Jewish women figure as heroines; her poetic narrator has many burdens but always strives to make life easier for others. Bat-Miriam quit writing poetry after her son died during Israel's War of Independence in 1948.