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Alexander Penn

אלכסנדר פן

Alexander Penn (1906-1972) was born in Nizhne-Kolymsk, Russia, and boasts a biography that melds with the mythical biographies of the literary heroes he created. Penn interlaced biographical facts in his poetry and prose, and his literary work contributed to the creation of the new mythological biography of the poet. He was also a boxer and competed in several contests. In 1920 he went to Moscow and studied cinema. That same year he published his first poem. In 1927 he settled in Palestine, and worked in agriculture, construction, as a guard, and was one of the first boxing trainers in Tel Aviv. Together with Nathan Axelrod, Penn founded the first film studio in Palestine.

In the 30s he was a member of the repertoire committee of Habima Theater. In 1929 he began publishing poetry, which was mostly lyrical and inspired by the Israeli landscape. Penn was also a pioneer of the political song. After 1934 he increasingly devoted himself to poems with a political and social message, which he published mainly in Marxist publications. In 1947 he began working as editor of the literary and art supplement of the communist newspaper, Kol Ha’am. After the 1967 Six-Day War, Penn left the Israel Communist Party, because of its “nationalistic regression.”

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