Biography of Hayyim (Chaim) Nahman Bialik
At 18, Bialik left for Odessa and became active in Jewish literary circles and met Achad Ha'am, who had a great influence on him. He published his first poem in Hebrew, El HaTzipor ("To the Bird"), reflecting his feelings toward Zion and Russia. Bialik was not yet a full-time writer and poet. Bialik made his living as a bookkeeper in his father-in-law's business and later taught, published and translated. For six years was literary editor of the Odessa Hebrew weekly Hashiloah. Bialik hoped to be successful in business, but after four-years in the lumber trade he decided to make his living by teaching. In 1901 his first collection of poetry appeared to much acclaim. The next three years were a "golden" period, in which he wrote prolifically. His "In the City of Slaughter," written in response to the Kishinev Pogrom, evoked the existential anguish of a nation over the situation of the Jews.
Bialik moved to Berlin in 1921, where he founded the Dvir publishing house. He moved the company to Tel Aviv in 1924 and devoted himself to cultural activities and public affairs. In 1927 he became head of the Hebrew Writers Union, and remained head until his death in 1934. Bialik's poetry and prose have been widely translated. His poems are required reading in Israeli schools and several have been put to music.
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