Wallach, Yonna (1944–1985) By Weisman, Anat
Yonna Wallach, born in Mandatory Palestine, is known as one of the most prominent and influential poets in Israeli poetry. She lived most of her life in her mother’s home in the town of Kiryat Ono. The residence was located on a street named after her late father, who was killed in the Israeli Independent War in 1948 when Wallach was four years old.
Wallach was known as an eccentric figure whose lifestyle was exceptionally extroverted, even among the bohemian circles in which she was involved. Her stormy and intense relationships with both men and women, free and open sex life, experiences with drugs, and frequent hospitalizations in psychiatric institutions are described in detail in Yigal Serna’s 1993 biography.
Her first poems appeared in 1964 and her first collection of poetry, Devarim (Words, or Things), was published in 1966. Scholars and critics were fascinated by the richness of the poems, and stressed their original and enigmatic imagism as well as their erotic, existential, metaphysical, feminist and social concerns.