Agi Mishol is one of the most prominent Israeli women poets of the recent decades. Born in Romania, she is the daughter of Hungarian Holocaust survivors. She started writing poetry in high school. Mishol's books were first published in the early 1970s, and during the 1990s she was recognized as a leading female poet in Israel — a status that she has been enjoying ever since. While writing her poetry, Mishol worked as a high school teacher and educator, and later on, as a college and university lecturer. Recently she was appointed director of the Helicon (Hebrew-Arabic) Poetry School. She divides her time between her modest home in the village of Kfar Mordechai — set amid fields, just half an hour's drive from Gaza, with farm animals wandering about, and children and grandchildren running around — and her work in the city.
Mishol was the recipient of the 1995 Prime Minister's Prize for Poetry, and the first woman poet to be awarded the Yehuda Amichai Prize for Hebrew poetry, in 2002. In 2014, she received an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University, and earned the prestigious international award for poetry LericiPea. She has published 15 books, including a comprehensive anthology of her poems released about a decade ago. We met in her backyard, under the shadow of a large concrete air-raid shelter, to talk about poetry, her life and everything in between.