Henry Israeli earned his BA from McGill University and MFAs in poetry and in playwriting from the University of Iowa. He is the author of three collections of poetry: New Messiahs (Four Way Books, 2002), Praying to the Black Cat (Del Sol, 2010), and god’s breath hovering across the waters (Four Way Books, 2016). The child of a Holocaust survivor and an immigrant to the United States, Israeli is keenly aware of how legacies of historical traumas shape and inflect his verse. In an interview with the Massachusetts Review, he noted, “As an immigrant I see my adopted home from the perspective of the Other. Now, more than ever, in this new golden age of greed, lies, and corruption, I feel displaced, like a refugee in a foreign land, and this dissociation with my environment definitely feeds into my writing.”
Israeli has also translated the Albanian poet Luljeta Lleshanaku in collections such as Haywire (Bloodaxe, 2011), Child of Nature (with Shpresa Qatipi, New Directions, 2010), and Fresco: Selected Poetry of Luljeta Lleshanaku (New Directions, 2002). His honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts. Founding editor of the poetry press Saturnalia Books, Israeli is an associate professor at Drexel University, where he directs the Drexel Writing Festival. He lives outside Philadelphia.