Wieseltier, Meir 1941-
WIESELTIER, Meir 1941-
PERSONAL: Born March 8, 1941 in Moscow, Russia; immigrated to Israel c. 1949; son of Raya and Nathan Wieseltier; children: Natalia, Martha. Education: Attended Hebrew University.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—c/o Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa, 31905, Israel.
CAREER: Poet and translator. Siman Kriah (literary magazine), cofounder and coeditor; Am Oved Publishing House, poetry editor, 1986-89; University of Haifa, associate professor, 2001—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Levi Eshkol creativity prize, 1977 and 1992; Elite Jubilee prize, 1984; Bialik prize, 1995; Israel Prize for Literature, 2000; Israeli Ministry of Culture prize for translation, 2002.
A Walk in Iona: A Long Poem, Kiltartan (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1963.
Perek Alef, Perek Beit (title means "Chapter One, Chapter Two"), Achshav (Jerusalem, Israel), 1967.
Meah Shirim (title means "100 Poems"), Gog (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1969.
Kah (title means "Take It"), Siman Kriah (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1973.
Davar Optimi, Asiat Shirim (title means "Something Optimistic, The Making of a Poem"), Siman Kriah (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1976.
Pnim Va-Hutz (title means "Interior and Exterior"), Hakibbutz Hameuchad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1977.
Pegimot: leket targumim ve-'lburim (title means "Defects: A Selection of Poetry Translations and Adaptations"), Hakibbutz Hamuechad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1979.
Motzah el Ha-Yam (title means "Exit into the Sea"), Siman Kriah (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1981.
Kitzur Shnot Ha-Shishim (title means "The Concise Sixties"), Hakkibutz Hameuchad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1984.
Ee Yevani (title means "Greek Island"), Hakibbutz Hameuchad/Siman Kriah (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1985.
Michtavim Ve-Shirim Aherim (title means "Letters and Other Poems"), Am 'Oved (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1986.
Mahsan (title means "Storehouse"), Hakibbutz Hameuchad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1995.
Shirim itiyim (title means "Slow Poems"), Hakibbutz Hamuechad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 2000.
The Flower of Anarchy, translated with Shirley Kaufman, University of California Press, 2003.
Shirim Merudim (title means "Dejected Poems"), Hakibutz Hameuchad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 2003.
Also translator of works by Western authors, including Bertold Brecht, Charles Dickens, E. M. Forster, Iris Murdoch, Aldous Huxley, Robert Graves, Malcolm Lowry, and William Shakespeare, and Virginia Woolf; contributor of articles to periodicals.
SIDELIGHTS: Meir Wieseltier is one of Israel's leading contemporary poets. During the 1960s and 1970s he was highly influential in developing the literary culture of Israel. Known as one of the "Tel Aviv poets," Wieseltier edited a variety of literary magazines before founding his own journal, Siman Kriah, in 1972. He translated several major works of Western literature into English, beginning with the fiction of Iris Murdoch. Since 1967 Wieseltier has also written a number of political pieces, reflecting an interest in social justice that also infuses his poetry.
The city of Tel Aviv itself is one of the common themes of Wieseltier's poetry. Stanley Nash, discussing the strength and graphic nature of Wieseltier's work on the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Web site, observed that his poems "capture . . . the pulse of the city and at the same time [imbue] it with an emotional expressionistic tone that clearly reflects the temperament and sensibilities of our poet." Although Wieseltier is a secular poet, his works frequently address the idea of God, often in negative or indifferent terms. In one poem from Kitzur Shnot Ha-Shishim, Wieseltier compares God to a child's tooth kept in a box as a memento. In another from that collection, the poet says God "wounds but sees the blood that is spilled," and "kills but retrieves the body." Many of Wieseltier's works are characterized by a bleak worldview, or what Nash called "the restlessness and malaise of deeply sensitive Israeli artists." Though his poetry is not optimistic, it contains, as Nash described it, "concern, caring, a photographic eye for human suffering, outrage, gutwrenching compassion and sensitivity."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Web site,http://www.huc.edu/ (July 18, 2002) Stanley Nash, "God and Man in the Poetry of Meir Wieseltier: On the Occasion of His Visit to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York."
Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature,http://www.ithl.org.il/ (March 4, 2002), biography of Meir Wieseltier.