|Born||February 21, 1934|
Tel Aviv, Israel
|Died||May 11, 1995 (aged 61)|
Tel Aviv, Israel
|Alma mater||Hebrew University of Jerusalem|
|Occupation||Poet, painter, filmmaker, publicist, and playwright|
|Awards||1993 Bialik Prize for Hebrew literature|
David Avidan (Hebrew: דוד אבידן) (February 21, 1934 – May 11, 1995) was an Israeli "poet, painter, filmmaker, publicist, and playwright" (as he often put it). He wrote 20 published books of Hebrew poetry.
Biography and literary career
He was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and studied Literature and Philosophy while briefly studying at Hebrew University. He wrote mostly in Hebrew, and was an avant-garde artist throughout his life. He translated many of his own poems into English, and received several awards both as a poet and as a translator.
He was not popular with most critics or the general public throughout his life, often criticized as being egocentric, chauvinistic, and technocratic. His first book, Lipless Faucets (1954), was attacked by nearly all poetry critics; the first favorable review was by Gabriel Moked, editor of the literary quarterly Akhshav, who later became one of Avidan's closest friends.
By the early 1990s he could scarcely make a living, and his mental condition had deteriorated. Avidan died in Tel Aviv, the city which had played a central role in his life, and was, in many ways, the center of his creation.
Since his death, Avidan's reputation has been on the rise both in literary circles and in the popular imagination, positioning him as one the core poets of the Israeli canon. A volume of Selected Poems by Avidan, "Futureman," translated by Tsipi Keller, has been published by Phoneme Media in 2017.
- Message from the Future, a 1981 Israeli film Avidan wrote, directed and starred in this science fiction movie in English about future humans visiting present-day Israel. In the year 3005, a man is sent back to 1985 to convince the present leaders make certain that World War III happens, which he guarantees will make for a better future. Having already caused natural disasters and catastrophes by coming back from the future, he now tries to force his message on the world press and TV. Sheldon Teitelbaum has judged the film 'execrable'.
Books (poetry) – partial list
- Lipless Faucets, 1954
- Personal Problems, 1957
- Subtotal, 1960
- Pressure Poems, 1962
- Something for Someone, 1964
- A Book of Possibilities – Poems and More, 1985
- "List of Bialik Prize recipients 1933–2004 (in Hebrew), Tel Aviv Municipality website" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 17, 2007.
- John Clute and Peter Nicholls, eds, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Orbit Books, 1993, p. 630.