The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse
T. Carmi, editor
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Buy *The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse* by T. Carmi, editor online

The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse
T. Carmi, editor
608 pages
August 2006
rated 5 of 5 possible stars
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“Hear, O Kings! Princes, give ear! I shall sing to Him!”
This stunning anthology spans the full range of Hebrew Poetry, from the Bible to contemporary Israeli writing. This is possibly the first such collection in English. More surprisingly, it is also the first comprehensive selection in Hebrew. Gathering together the riches of poetry in Hebrew from “The Song of Deborah” to pre-tenth-century verse shows the development of piyut, or liturgical poetry, retells the episodes of the Bible, and exalts the glory of God. Medieval works introduce secular ideas in love poems, wine songs and rhymed narratives, as well as devotional verse for specific religious rituals.

Themes such as the longing for the homeland run throughout the ages, especially in verse written after the rise of the Zionist movement, while poems of the last century marry Biblical references with the horrors of the Holocaust. Together these works create a moving portrait of a rich and varied culture through the last 3,000 years.

These poems are presented simultaneously in the original Hebrew and in English prose translation. This volume includes an introduction discussing the development of Hebrew verse through different periods, countries and poetic forms; notes on medieval genres and systems of versification; and a bibliography, glossary and notes that consume the first 143 pages.

Tables of poems include Part One: To the Tenth Century, Part Two: From the 10th Century to the 18th Century, and Part Three: Modern Times. Graphs provided on pgs 16,17, and 71 show respectively The Distribution of Hebrew Poetry and The Major Systems of Hebrew Verse (in their logical and chronological order) and Note on the Systems of Hebrew Versification.

T. Carmi has made an astounding, Biblically accurate compilation. This is a work for those who seek God’s truths and are willing to go the extra mile to mine this blessing for themselves, the diligent who can always use a timely word from the Creator.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Brenda A. Snodgrass, 2007

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