Photo credit: David H. Aaron

Rachel Tzvia Back

b. 1960

Biography

Rachel Tzvia Back is an English-language Israeli poet and translator of Hebrew verse into English. Her poems and verse translations have received awards and recognitions, including the Times Literary Supplement Award, PEN Translation Prize, Finalist for the National Poetry Award in Translation and Finalist for the Jewish Book Council Poetry Award. She is also the recipient of various fellowships, including the Brown Foundation Fellowship at the Dora Maar House (France).

Her poetry collections include Azimuth (2000), On Ruins & Return (2007), What Use is Poetry, the Poetry is Asking (2019) and A Messenger Comes, recognized by The Forward as one of the Five Best Poetry Books of 2012. Her translation books include Lea Goldberg: Selected Poetry and Drama (2005; drama translated by T. Carmi), With an Iron Pen: Twenty Years of Hebrew Protest Poetry (2007), In the Illuminated Dark: Select Poems of Tuvia Ruebner (2014), and On the Surface of Silence: the Last Poems of Lea Goldberg (2018). Her most recent translation project, Now at the Threshold: The Late Poems of Tuvia Ruebner, was published in 2020, on the one-year yarzheit of Ruebner’s death.

Back is a professor of English literature and Head of the Graduate English program at Oranim College.  She lives in the Galilee, where her great great great grandfather, Yisrael B”k, settled in 1830.

Current City, State, Country

D.N. Misgav, the Galilee, Israel

Birth City, State, Country

Buffalo, New York, USA

Published Works

Poetry
What Use is Poetry, the Poet is Asking (Shearsman Books, 2019)
A Messenger Comes — Elegies (Singing Horse Press, 2012)
On Ruins & Return (Shearsman Books, 2007)
Azimuth (Sheep Meadow Press, 2000)

Translations
Now at the Threshold: The Late Poems of Tuvia Ruebner (Hebrew Union College Press, 2020)
 On the Surface of Silence: The Last Poems of Lea Goldberg (HUC Press, 2018)
In the Illuminated Dark: Select Poems of Tuvia Ruebner (HUC Press, 2014)
Night, Morning: Select Poems of Hamutal Bar Yosef (Sheep Meadow Press, 2008)
With an Iron Pen: Twenty Years of Hebrew Protest Poems (with Tal Nitzan) — (SUNY Press, 2007)
Lea Goldberg: Selected Poems and Drama (with T. Carmi) — (Toby Press, 2005)

Critical Work
Led by Language: The Poetry of Susan Howe (University of Alabama Press, 2000)

Current Title

Professor of English Literature, Oranim College, the Galilee

Author Site

Education

Hebrew University in Jerusalem — PhD & completion of BA
Temple University, Philadelphia — MA
Yale University — beginning of BA studies

Video Reading

Links to Sample Works

Languages of Publication(s) and Poets Translated

Hebrew

Subject Matter

Genre