Night, Morning: Poems by Hamutal Bar Yosef

Hamutal Bar-Yosef writes passionately and wisely about the convergence of historical tragedy and personal suffering. “I am a poisoned well,” she declares in a prefatory poem, and then dives to the bottom of grief—the death of her brother in Israel's 1948 War of Independence, the suicide of a teenage son—and renders her losses movingly, without a trace of bathos or self-pity. Night, Morning is the perfect title for this selection of her poems, for here she juxtaposes death with the freshness of hibiscus, the beauty of a green leaf, the stirrings of love. Her rebirth in poetry comes clear in “The Tower of Tevits,” a modern version of the biblical attack, where she recalls, “I screamed on the roof of the tower,” and then, “There I learned to sing.” In its investigation of personal and world sorrow, her work is on a par with that of the best poets writing today.

—Grace Schulman

Night, Morning