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Natan Yonatan

Natan Yonatan  Biography

Natan Yonatan (September 1923 – March 12, 2004) was a much-loved Israeli poet who received almost every prize and honor given to poets in Israel.

His poems have been translated from Hebrew and published in more than a dozen languages, among them: Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Yiddish.

Natan Yonatan was born Natan Klein, in Kiev in the Ukraine in 1923. In 1925, his family immigrated to Eretz Israel/Palestine. They were among the early settlers (1935), of Moshav Maas, an agricultural village near Petah Tikva. Yonatan was active in the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement and in 1945 joined Kibbutz Sarid in the Jezreel Valley. He was a member of Kibbutz Sarid for forty-six years. From 1991 until his death, he resided in the suburbs of Tel Aviv.

He was father to Lior, who fell in action in the Yom Kippur War at age 21, and to Ziv, both sons from his marriage to Tzefira, and to Tom and Netta, from the family of his wife, Nili. While love and passion, as well as the Israeli landscape, permeate his work, the authenticity of his poems mourning the loss of Lior – the terrible price of war – became this poet’s hallmark.

He held degrees in Hebrew Literature and Comparative Literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University and Oxford University. He lectured internationally, as well as within the Israeli public school system, and was among Israel’s most eminent teachers of creative writing, known for his generous spirit and desire to foster new poetic talent.

While serving as long-term Editor in Chief of the Sifriat Poalim publishing house, he was also the unanimously elected President of the Hebrew Writers Union and represented Israel at literary conferences around the globe.

Natan Yonatan published his first poem, “When Ships Put Out to Sea”, during the Second World War, in 1940 at age sixteen before the establishment of the State of Israel, and soon became one of modern Israel’s most read and beloved poets. Notwithstanding the subtle complexity of his use of Hebrew’s many registers and intertexts, Yonatan’s lyricism lends itself to musical composition. Dozens of his poems have become traditional favorites, set to music by Israel’s foremost songwriters and composers. Yonatan’s poems are sung and broadcast for national occasions, both festive and mournful.

Books by Natan Yonatan

  • Dusty Paths (poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1951

  • To the Fallow Land (poems for children), Sifriat Poalim, 1954

  • Once We Loved (poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1957

  • Between Spring and a Cloud (stories for teens), Sifriat Poalim, 1959

  • Once-Loved Dusty Paths (selected poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1960

  • Poems Along the Shore (poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1962

  • Lilac (stories for children), Sifriat Poalim, 1963

  • Poems of Dust and Wind (poems for teens), Sifriat Poalim, 1965

  • Till the End of Indian Summer (American travelogue), Sifriat Poalim, 1968

  • Poems at Sea-Dusk (poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1970

  • More Stories Between Spring and a Cloud (stories for teens), Sifriat Poalim, 1971

  • Poems (Dedicated to Lior) (poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1974

  • Stones in the Darkness (selected poems translated into English, trans. Richard Flantz and others), Sifriat Poalim, 1975

  • Poems This Far (poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1979 Salt and Light (selected poems translated into Russian), Sifriat Poalim, 1980

  • Pocket Collection (selections from 40 years of poetry), Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1982

  • Shores (100 poems set to music, including both words and musical notation), Keter, 1983

  • Other Poems (poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1984

  • Itzik Manger—Selected Poems (translations from Yiddish to Hebrew), Keter, 1987

  • Poems on the Mountain Ranges (poems), Zmora-Bitan, 1988

  • Poems with Love (collected love poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1990

  • Poems on Earth and Water (collected poems about the land), Sifriat Poalim, 1993

  • Veiled Faced is Time (poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1995

  • Salt and Light (selected poems translated into Bulgarian), Sifriat Poalim, 1995

  • Poetry’s Grace (collected poems on the art of poetry), Sifriat Poalim, 1996

  • Gleanings and Forgotten Sheaves (selected poems), Sifriat Poalim, 1997

  • Poems on “Sefer Hayashar” (poems inspired by the Bible and other traditional Jewish sources, with landscape photography), Or-Am, 1998

  • Poems Cloaked in Evening (poetry anthology selected and edited by Natan Yonatan, published two days after his death), Yediot Ahronot, 2004.

  • Within the Song to Live (Hebrew-English anthology, trans. Janice Silverman Rebibo and others, music CD, composer: Gidi Koren, performed by The Brothers and the Sisters), Gefen Jerusalem & NY, 2005. ISBN 9652293458

1 Songs Composed by Natan Yonatan

 1 Tracks Composed
  • Hofim

4 thoughts on “Kaminos”

  1. Jim Borman says:

    Was Nicholas related to Alexander Saslavsky who married Celeste Izolee Todd?

  2. Mark Goldman says:

    Anyone have a contact email for Yair Klinger or link to score for Ha-Bayta?

  3. allan wolinsky says:

    wish to have homeland concert video played on the big screen throughout North America.

    can organize here in Santa Barbara California.

    contacts for this needed and any ideas or suggestions welcomed.

  4. Orien McKee says:

    Nat farber is my great grandpa 😊

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