23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Israel Bar Kohav
© Hartwig Klappert

Israel Bar Kohav

Israel Bar-Kohav (Berkovsky) was born in 1950 in suburban Tel Aviv. He studied Psychology and Philosophy in Tel Aviv, Bar Ilan and Jerusalem universities and started writing poetry at an early age. He is an acclaimed poet and writer in Israel. He also works as a Gestalt psychologist and teaches creative writing and Psychology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as well as at the Hakibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv. He is a guest Professor for creative writing at the MFA program in the litature departmant at the Ben Gurin university in the Negev. He also has taught creative writing in Europe (London, Oxford, Manchester, Stockholm, Berlin).

Israel Bar-Kohav has published ten volumes of poetry to date, and received numerous literary awards in his country, including the Prime Minister’s Creation Award (1996). In 2002, he was selected to hold a reading before the European in its convention for peace agreement in the Middle East. Bar-Kohav’s work has been translated into 13 languages, including English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish and Turkish. A volume of his selected poems (1975-2010) has recently won him the lottery prize for poetry, and is scheduled for publication in 2010 by the prestigious Bialik Institute Publishing and Hakkibutz Hameuchad House.

Bar-Kohav’s poetry draws on his childhood memories of the 1950s’ Tel Aviv, but it is not backward looking. Rather, Bar Kohav’s poems act as dream sequences, in which the conflicts of contemporary, everyday life in Israel, resonate. World renowned writer and novelist Amos Oz considers Bar Kohav »one of our best and most interesting poets.« Oz especially emphasizes »his poetic power, the accuracy of his expression and the freshness and originality of his language.« Prof. Ori Bernstein, one of the founders of modern Israeli poetry, writes that Israel Bar Kohav is one of the most important poets of the younger generation (after the Zach-Amichai generation), and praises Bar Kohav’s poetry’s authentic emotional power and significance beyond a certain place: »It is an island with his own greenery, sunrise, and sunset […]. It starts with the everyday and turns to be magical. Bar Kohav is aware of each word […], it echoes for a long time […], these poems cast a huge shadow […]. Only few can write like that.«

© internationales literaturfestival berlin


Poems. 1975−1977
The Hebrew Book Council
Givatayim, 1977

Hukay hagan
Sifriat Hapoalim
Tel Aviv, 1987

Maof hanazir
Hakkibutz Hameuchad publishing house, 1996

Pesukay yareah
Hakkibutz Hameuchad
Tel Aviv Fund for Literature and Art
Tel Aviv, 1999

Bekarov Ahava
Am Oved
Tel Aviv, 2005

Hakkibutz Hameuchad /
Tel Aviv Fund for Literature and Art
Tel Aviv, 2008

Hazman Melamed et tzeadav haketanim
Selected and new poems
Bialik institute and Hakkibutz Hameuchad publishing house/
The national lottery fund for literature and art
Tel Aviv 2010