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Carmi, T.


CARMI, T. (pseudonym of Carmi Charney ; 1925–1994), Hebrew poet. Born in New York, Carmi grew up in a home where Hebrew was the spoken language, and as a child, lived in Ereẓ Israel. After working with refugee children in France (1946–47), he immigrated to Palestine in 1947, fought on the Jerusalem front during the War of Independence, and then served as an officer in the air force. Carmi, one of the editors of the literary journal Massa, was also a member of the repertory committee of *Habimah, and children's book editor for the Am Oved publishing company. Carmi's first book of verse, Mum ve-Ḥalom (1950), composed mostly in a lyrical vein, is characterized by original and concrete imagery, while his idiom is precise and conversational although drawing on all the strata of literary Hebrew. It is unsentimental and marked by its frequent recourse to irony. In Ein Peraḥim Sheḥorim (1953), he describes a French institution for refugee children in a series of dramatic monologues whose speakers are the children and their educators. Sheleg bi-Yrushalayim (19562) includes several social protest poems as well as lyrical verse. Other works, dominated by a strong sensuous tone, are Ha-Yam ha-Aḥaron (1958); Neḥash ha-Neḥoshet (1961; in English, The Brass Serpent, 1967); and Ha-Unikorn Mistakkel ba-Marah (1967). The volume of poems by Carmi, Hitnaẓlut ha-Meḥabber (1974), includes an elegy to Lea *Goldberg. His collected Hebrew poems appeared in 1988.

A selection of poems entitled Shirim: Mivḥar, 1951–1994 was published in 1994; in 1981 the Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse appeared. It was edited and translated by Carmi and covers a wide range of poetry, from biblical poetry through modern Hebrew poets.

One of the editors of The Modern Hebrew Poem Itself (1965), he translated many literary works (mostly drama) into Hebrew. Poems of T. Carmi in English translation are available in S. Mitchell (ed.), T. Carmi, Dan Pagis (1976). The English Collection At the Stone of Losses was published in 1983. For a list of works translated by Carmi into English, see Goell, Bibliography, nos. 1557–81.

add. bibliography:

J. Cohen, Voices of Israel: Essays on and Interviews with Amichai, Yehoshua, T. Carmi, Appelfeld and Oz (1990). website: ithl at

[Abraham Huss]

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