Photo Credit: Ezra Gut

Karen Alkalay-Gut

b. 1945

Current City, State, Country

Tel Aviv, Israel

Birth City, State, Country



Born to refugee parents in London during World War II, Alkalay-Gut grew up in the United States and moved to Israel in 1972. A retired professor of English Literature at Tel Aviv University, she chairs the Israel Association of Writers in English. Her books include Yerusha (Yiddish/Hebrew, 2018, 2023), Inheritance (Yiddish/English, 2020), Egypt, An Israelite Returns (2021), and Survivre a son histoire, (English/French translation: Sabine Huynh, 2020). Including those written in Hebrew and Yiddish and translations in Italian, French, Danish and Spanish, she has published over 35 books. Her subjects include life in Israel, the Holocaust and its effects, as well as biblical themes. She was an editor of the Tel Aviv Review and the Jerusalem Review, as well as PEN Israel, and has translated hundreds of poems by Yehuda Amichai, Ronny Sommek, Asher Reich, Natan Yonatan, and other Hebrew poets.

What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?

Almost every word I write is suffused with the fact that I am Jewish, that I spoke Yiddish at home, and studied in and taught in Jewish schools. I chose to live in Israel because of its multi-faceted Jewish identity and write a daily blog entitled \”Tel Aviv Diary\”. My experiences of living with parents who as refugees helped create a community of refugees make it impossible for me to ignore their fates and those of their loved ones. My religious background influences every aspect of my secular life, and my experiences in Israel-particularly with my Arab friends and neighbors-help me to examine and reexamine what it means to be a Jew. Most recently I\’ve been publishing articles about my Jewish identity.

Published Works

Egypt: An Israelite Returns (Simple Conundrums, 2021)
Inheritance (Leyvick Press, 2021)
A Word in Edgewise (Simple Conundrums, 2020)
Hanging Around the House (Simple Conundrums, 2017)
Avra Cadivra (Amazon, 2013)
Layers (Simple Conundrums, 2012)
Belly Dancing in Tel Aviv (Kololbris, 2010)
So Far So Good (Boulevard, 2004)
High Maintenance (Ride the Wind Press, 2001)
In My Skin (Sivan, 2000)
Life in Israel—November 1995–1996 (Whistle Press, 1997)
Ignorant Armies (Cross Cultural Communications,1994)
Recipes (Tel Aviv: Golan, 1994 Harmonies/Disharmonies. Etc. Editions,1994)
High School Girls (Tel Aviv: Tentative Press,1992)
Love Soup (Tel Aviv: Tentative Press,1992)
Between Bombardments (Tel Aviv: Tentative Press,1992)
Ignorant Armies (Tel Aviv: Tentative Press,1992)
Mechitza (New York: Cross-Cultural Communications,1986)
Making Love: Poems (Tel Aviv: Achshav,1980)

Written in Hebrew
Shirim Tluim Ekked (2023)

Books in Hebrew translation
Drachim le’ehov (Keshev 2018)
Nisim vechulei (Keshev, 2012)
Shomrei Neurei (Keshev, 2011)
Ta’avot Shuliot (Kibbutz Hameuchad, 2004)
Ahavat Begadim ve Erom (Kibbutz Hameuchad, 1999)
Paranormal Poems (Gvanim, 1997)
I/Thou and Other War Poems (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad,1994)
Ata, Ani, veod Shirei Milchama (Kibbutx Hameuchad, 1989)
Butter Sculptures (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Ha kibbutz Hameuchad, 1983)

Written in Yiddish
Yerusha (Beit Leyvick, 2018)[6]

Book in Italian
Danza del ventre a Tel Aviv (Kolibris, 2010)

Book in French and English
Survivre a son histoire (translation: Sabine Huynh)
Surviving her Story (Corlevour, 2020)

Book in Danish
Rum & krop: Digte fra Israel (translation: Flemming Ravn) (Ravns Bureau, 2020)

Academic works
Alone in the Dawn: The Life of Adelaide Crapsey (University of Georgia Press, 1988)

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading


University of Rochester, BA, MA, PhD
Columbia University, Visiting Scholar

Languages of Publication(s) and Poets Translated

Yiddish and Hebrew

Subject Matter