Israel StoryIn partnership with The Times of Israel

Wartime Diaries: Agi Mishol

What should a poet write about in wartime?

Agi Mishol (Israel Story)
Agi Mishol (Israel Story)

77-year-old Agi Mishol is one of Israel’s most prominent, beloved and widely-read poets. Over the years she’s won practically every literary prize here, and Amos Oz once said that her poems “know how to tell a tale, to sing a song and also dance.” Her poetry is colorful and playful, full of nature and a love of the land. And that makes sense since – in addition to writing – Agi and her husband Giora are also farmers, who grow peaches, pomegranates and persimmons.

They live in Kfar Mordechai, a moshav near Gedera. Many rockets have been launched to that region in the last month, including one that landed close enough to their home to damage their front door. The serenity of their orchards is often disturbed by the sound of fighter jets going to, or coming back from, missions in Gaza.

In the aftermath of October 7th, Agi was part of an unusual and devastating literary project. Dozens of Israel’s leading content creators — authors, poets, editors, playwrights and journalists — volunteered to write eulogies for the hundred-plus members of Kibbutz Be’eri who were murdered. David Grossman penned a secular kaddish, while others received bare biographical information, called up surviving relatives and then sat down to write parting words for people they had never met. There are apparently times when wordsmiths become essential workers.

Produced in partnership with The Times of Israel.

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