Born in Tel Aviv, poet and translator Aharon Shabtai grew up on a kibbutz. After completing his Israeli military service, Shabtai studied philosophy and Greek at Hebrew University, the Sorbonne, and the University of Cambridge, where he wrote a PhD dissertation titled Home and Family in the Tragedies of Aeschylus.
One of Israel’s leading poets, Shabtai is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including War & Love, Love & War: New and Selected Poems (2010), the PEN Translation Award–winning J’Accuse (2003), and Love and Other Poems (1997). Shabtai writes with passion and candor on themes of justice, domesticity, and love, frequently locating his unflinching work in the war zone and the body. His is a “voice mostly elided from American mappings of the Israel/Palestine question: acute, unblinking, unafraid to question, and aware of the stakes,” according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Shabtai has translated numerous volumes from ancient Greek into Hebrew. His honors include the Israeli Prime Minister’s Prize for Translation and the Tchernikhovsky Prize. Peter Cole is the primary translator of his work in English.
Shabtai has taught theater studies and Greek literature at Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University. Until her death in 2007, he was married to linguist and political activist Tanya Reinhart.
Poems by Aharon Shabtai
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