Natan Zach was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1930, and immigrated to pre-state Israel as a child. After teaching at Tel Aviv University for a number of years, he moved to England (1967-1978), where he completed his PhD at the University of Essex. On his return, Zach was appointed professor at Haifa University. He has also served as chairman of the repertory board of the Ohel and Cameri Theaters.
A poet, critic, editor and translator, Zach has exerted great influence on the development of modern Hebrew poetry. He was the leader of a group of post-Independence poets who changed the face of Hebrew poetry in the 1950s and 1960s.
Zach has been awarded the Bialik Prize (1982), the Israel Prize (1995), the Camaiore Prize (Italy, 2000), the Levy Eshkol Award (2001), Premio dell'Unione di Lettori Italiani (Italy, 2001), the Feronia Prize (Italy, 2003), Cultural Ambassador of Rome (2002), and the ACUM Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2003). Most recently, Zach received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Geneva for "his contribution to the renewal of poetry in the second half of the 20th century" (2004), the honorary title of Cavaliere from the Italian Government (2007), the Gabriele d'Annunzio Prize (2009), the Premio Napoli (Italy, 2010) and the Aquila Prize (Italy, 2010). His work has been published abroad in 23 languages.
One moment silence, please. If you please. I
would like to say something. He walked
right past me. I could have touched the hem
of his gown. I did not touch it. Who could have
known what then I didn’t know.
Sand clung to his garments. Twigs
were entangled in his beard. Apparently he’d
spent the night in a haystack. Who could have known
that the following night he’d be
hollow as a cave, hard as stone.
I could not have known. I do not blame
him. Sometimes I feel him rise
in his slumber, moonstruck like the sea, saying
to me, Son.
My son, I never knew you were, this much, with me.
Trans. by Jon Silkin
Books Published in Hebrew
|In Three [with Moshe Dor and Aryeh Sivan], Likrat, 1953 [Bi-Shlosha]|
|First Poems, Hamasa, 1955 [Shirim Rishonim]|
|Different Poems, Nathan Zach, 1960; Alef, 1964; extended ed. Hakibbutz Hameuchad,1974 [Shirim Shonim]|
|All the Milk and Honey, Am Oved, 1966; 2002 [Kol He-Halav Ve-Ha-Dvash]|
|A Dream Instead, Massada Gallery, 1966 [Bimkom Halom]|
|Selected Poems, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1974 [Mivhar]|
|North by Northeast, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1979 [Tzfonit Mizrahit]|
|Hard to Remember, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1984 [Anti-Mechikon]|
|Because I’m Around, Hakibbutz Hameuchad/ Siman Kriah, 1996 [Keivan She-Ani Ba-Svivah]|
|For Man is a Tree of the Field (poems & songs), Tammuz, 1999 [Ki Ha-Adam Hu Etz Ha-Sadeh]|
|The Nightingale No Longer Lives Here, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2004 [Ha-Zamir Kvar Lo Gar Po Yoter]|
|The Complete Poems [3 vols.], Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2008. [Kol Ha-Shirim Ve-Shirim Hadashim]|
|From Where Weʹve Never Been to Where Weʹll Never Be, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2013 [Min Ha-Makom She-Bo Lo Hayinu El Ha-Makom She-Bo Lo Nihiyeh]|
|They Say It's Really Tempting There: Poems and Reminiscence, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2016 [Omrim She-Mamash Yafeh Sham: Shirim Achronim]|
|Time and Rhythm in the Writing of Bergson and in Modern Poetry (non-fiction), Alef, 1966 [Zman Ve-Rytmus Etzel Bergson U-Va-Shirah Ha-Modernit]|
|Airlines (essays), Keter, 1983 [Kavei Avir]|
|Death of My Mother (memoirs) , Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1997 [Mot Imi]|
|The Eye of the Needle (stories) , Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2004 [Kof Ha-Machat]|
|From Year to Year It: Literary Biography, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2009 [Mi-Shana Le-Shana Ze: Pirkey Biografia Sifrutit U-Muvaot]|
|Imagism and Vorticism [translated to the Hebrew by Yehuda Vizan] (non-fiction), Emda, 2010 [Imagism Ve-Vorticism]|
|The Poetry Beyond Words: Critical Essays 1954-1973, Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2011 [Ha-Shira She-Meʹever La-Milim: Teiorya U-Vikoret 1954-1973]|
|Dance School (play), Keter, 1985 [Beit Sfer Le-Rikudim]|
|Poems about Two Dogs (children), Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1990 [Shirim Al Kelev Ve-Kalba]|
|The Tale of the Little Fellows (children), Sifriat Poalim, 2001 [Ha-Sipur Al Ha-Anashim Ha-Ktanim]|
|The Great Eagle (children), Sifriat Poalim, 2001 [Ha-Nesher Ha-Gadol]|
|Dvora the Bee (children-picture bk), Sifriat Poalim, 2001 [Ha-Dvora Dvora]|
Books in Translation
English (Against Parting): Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Royal Press, 1967
English: London, Menard Press, 1975
English (The Static Element): English: New York, Atheneum, 1982
French: French: Paris, Pierre Belfond, 1989
Italian: with Adonis: Rome, Quasar, 1993.
Italian: Rome, Donzelli, 1996; 1998; Torino, Einaudi, 2009
Arabic: Paris, Fradis El-Janabi, 1996
Spanish: Barcelona, Visor, 2007
Chinese: Beijing, People`s Literature Publishing House, 2010
English (The Countries We Live In): Portland, Tavern Books, 2011
German: Berlin, Suhrkamp/Judische Verlag, 2013
French: Paris, Éd. Caractères, 2013
The Eye of the Needle
French: Paris, Éd. Caractères, 2014
Stories and Poems for Children
Italian: Rome, Donzelli, 2003