On Tuesday, Oct. 30, 5 – 7 p.m., the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University will host a special talk by book artist Rick Black, “Windows in the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai.”
A roundtable discussion and reception will follow with several Yale University professors, including Shiri Goren, Barbara Harshav and Katie Trumpener.
The Amichai Windows, a limited edition artist book of Yehuda Amichai poems, “is a towering achievement in American arts and letters,” wrote Yermiyahu Ahron Taub in a review for the newsletter of the Association of Jewish Libraries.
Amichai’s work has been translated into more than 40 languages. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize and won numerous awards in Israel and abroad for his poems. The Yale University Library and the Rare Books division of the Library of Congress have bought the first two copies of this limited edition.
“I wanted to make a book that would move people deeply and reflect what it means to be a Jew today,” said Black, 60, an award-winning book artist and poet for the past 12 years. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime labor of love.”
In the works for 10 years, the bilingual artist book features 18 Amichai poems that shed light on love, war and being Jewish today. It features an introduction by preeminent Hebrew literary scholar and translator Professor Robert Alter of the University of California at Berkeley, more than 100 images from archives around the world, replicas of Amichai’s handwritten poems, a window simulacrum with lace curtains, handmade paper with deckled edges, gold leaf and a variety of tip-ons and botanicals.
“Not many artist books have the depth of visual and cultural literacy as The Amichai Windows, said Helen Frederick, professor emeritus of art at George Mason University. “It bears the journeys of the poet and the bookmaker who both walked meditative steps in Jerusalem.”