Der neue Bereich unseres Portals macht es sich zum Anliegen, die internationalen Literaturszenen Berlins zu kartographieren, die handelnden Personen und ihre Schauplätze sichtbar und zugänglich zu machen. 
Die Entstehung der Rubrik wurde durch eine Förderung des Hauptstadtkulturfonds ermöglicht. 

Mati Shemoelof



This photo was taking as part of the Mizrahi Poetry exhibition in Israel
© Micha Simchon


Born: 11.7.1972
Birthplace: Haifa
Country of birth: Israel
Lives in: Berlin,

Source language: Hebrew, English, German
Target language: The world
Working language: Hebrew, English


Mati Shemoelof is a Poet, an Author, an Editor, and Journalist. His diverse writing includes poetry (5 poetry books), plays, and prose. His works have won significant recognition and prizes and have been translated to other languages. His first short story collection, “Remnants of the Cursed Book” was published in 2015 by Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir, the leading publishing company in Israel. He edited a vast variety of magazines and papers, most of which deal with poetry and culture. He was the co-founder of "Guerrilla Culture" Movement with the poet Roy Chiki Arad.His works have won significant recognition and prizes, including “Best debut poetry book of the year” (national art trust of the national lottery 2001); Selected appearance of “What has become of the independence day” play in the Small-Bama festival of the University of Tel Aviv; Best poetry book of the year (Haifa Cultural Foundation 2006); Honorable mention at “Haaretz” Annual short story contest (2011); Winner of the Acum prize for advocating literature in Israel (2013) and moreHe read his poems on the Chicago University and on Cornel University (2014). On 2015 he was invited to lecture in the Tel Aviv University. On 2016 he was reading his poems a special event about Mizrahi Poetry in Basel University in Switzerland. On 2016 he was invited to open the ID festival in Berlin. On 2017 he was invited to create a poetic show for the Musrara Mix festival in Jerusalem Israel.His poems were published on different Magazines: Zeek Magazine, Words without borders, Big Bridge, ”Märchenland: Die beteiligten Autoren setzten sich mit den Märchen der Gebrüder Grimm auseinander" and more.As an editor, he edited a vast variety of magazines and papers, most of which deal with poetry and culture. These works include “Echoing Identities” (Am-Oved 2007) which is one of most viewed and quoted academic work regarding 3rd generation writers in Israel, and “Aduma” (Red) – A poetry collection, which sold more than 3 editions in a very short time, and considered to be a one of the most successful and original literature publication ventures in Israel in the last decade.He was publishing regularly on Israel’s leading media channels, including: Israel Hayom (Israel’s most popular daily newspaper), were he contributed a weekly opinion column and literature reviews. He published a weekly column on Mako as well (The Internet news site of Keshet – Israel’s the most popular TV channel). Previously, he published on Ynet (Israel’s most popular news site), NRG (Israel’s #3 news site), and Walla (Israel’s most popular portal). He also took part in many TV appearances, including guest and panel member on Popolitika (public channel TV); Owls (culture channel TV); Channel 10 News, and others.He was the co-founder of the Israel Poets Union and the co-founder of “Culture Guerrilla”, an Israeli movement which propagates poetry as an accessible art form, and promotes political causes by means of art performed in public. Although the usually exclusive nature of poetry and poetry reading, this movement has achieved significant success in high profile cases regarding contemporary economical and social events, reaching front headlines in Israel, and a few mentions abroad (including one at the New York times).

Now he resided in Berlin. On 2017 he will publish his 6th poetry book. Also he work on his second fiction book. He is one of the founders of "Poetic Hefla" -  a multi lingual poetry, acting and party events. The Poetic Hafla aspires to create a middle-eastern place in Berlin, reading, acting, performing and singing in multiple languages. It combines the Arabic style party (i.e. Hafla) with the classic hip hop poetry slam. 

6 Questions

What brought you to Berlin? Love? World politics? Or was it a coincidence?

The poetry brought me to Berlin. I was invited on 2012 to a translation workshop. I fell in love by coincidence with a Berliner and we got married and waiting for our first child. So poetry and love collided with coincidence.

What do you love about Berlin?

The peace. It does not have a war with another country and it does not occupy another people. Other then that i love the relax way of life.

What do you miss in Berlin?

I miss what all the immigrants miss: their loved ones, family, friends, country of origin, the middle east climate and food and more other things.

What is your favorite spot in Berlin?

Tempelhofer Feld. It is a living creature.

Would you say you are a different person in Berlin? A different translator? And if yes, in what way?

Yes. Berlin has changed me quite a lot. I became more queer, in everlasting translations with the other people i meet.

Which existing literary work do you wish you had written?

"2666" by Roberto Bolanio.


2015  Best Book of Year Prize, Yekum Tarbut. Israel.
2014  Arab Jewish Texts Conference, Chicago University. USA.
2014  Digital Roundtable Conference, Cornell University. USA.
2014  Rabinovich Foundation Prize. Israel.
2014  Contemporary Israeli Poetry from Berlin. Germany.
2013  Acum Grant. Israel.
2012  Translation Workshop, Literaturwerkstatt Berlin. Germany.
2011  Honourable Mention, Haaretz Annual Short Story Contest. Israel.
2011  Honourable Mention,  Einat Annual Science Fiction Short Story Contest. Israel.
2010  Rabinovich Foundation Prize. Israel.
2009–2010  Living Stipends, The Department of Hebrew Literature, The Hebrew University             of Jerusalem. Israel.
2008–2010  Full Graduate Grant, ISEF, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Israel.
2008–2010  Herzl Scholarship, The Cherrick Center for the study of Zionism, The Hebrew                University of Jerusalem. Israel.
2007–2008  Scholarship of Excellence, The Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies, The Hebrew             University of Jerusalem. Israel.    
2003–2006  Dean's Award for Academic Excellence, The Department of General History,                 University of Haifa. Israel.
2006  Best Poetry Book of the Year, Haifa Cultural Foundation. Israel.
2006  Research Grant, CSUS, University of Haifa. Israel.
2006  Iraqi Jews Foundation Grant for my Second Poetry Book. Israel.
2006  Haifa Cultural Foundation Grant for my second Poetry Book. Israel.
2006  Scholarship of Excellence, University of Haifa. Israel.
2003-2006  Full Graduate Grant, ISEF, University of Haifa. Israel.                 
2001  Best Debut Poetry Book of the Year, National Lottery Art Trust. Israel.


Publications in german

Publications in original language

The Prize

Pardes / Haifa, Israel, 2021 A novel

Bagdad - Haifa - Berlin: 40 ausgewählte Gedichte - Hebräisch-deutsche Ausgabe, mit einem Gedicht in arabischer Übersetzung

AphorismA - Berlin, 2019 Lyrik

Last tango in Berlin

Booxilla, 2014 Poetry

Appetite for hunger

Nahar Sfarim Publishers, 2013 Poetry

Poetry between Shemoelof and Hazaz

Yaron Golan Publishers, 2006 Poetry

An Eruption from the east: re-visiting the emergence of the Mizrahi artistic explosion and it's imprint on the Israeli Cultural Narrative 2006-2019

Iton 77 Publishers, 2020 Articles

Hebrew outside its sweet insides

Pardes, 2017 Gedichte

Remants of the cursed book

Zmora Bitan, 2014 Shorts stories

Why don't i write Israeli love songs

Nahar Sfarim Publishers, 2010 Poetry

Scar minimizer

Gwanim Publishers, 2001 Poetry

Translated publications

Four poems

The Bombay Review, 2020 Lyrik

“The words of departure” appeared in „A wie Jüdisch: In 22 Buchstaben durch die Gegenwart.“

The Jewish Museum in Berlin, 2019 An Exhibition

Five Poems

Rigorous Magazine, 2018 Gedichte

The Berlin prize for Hebrew literature

De Gruyter, 2018 Fiction

Downstairs, from heavenly Aleppo

972 Magazine, 2017 Gedicht

Remembering your golden years: Elegy for George Michael

Issues Magazine, 2017 Gedicht

Creating a radical Hebrew culture — in the diaspora

972 Magazine, 2016 Artikel

How the social protests in Israel broke down national borders

972 Magazine, 2016 Artikel

The Black River

The Bombay Review, 2016 Short Story

The diaspora is an integral part of Hebrew literature

972 Magazine, 2016 Artikel

We Need Another Time Machine

Pardes Publishers, 2013 Short Story

Why Don’t I Write Israeli Love Songs

Fusion Big Bridge, 2011 Poetry

Gaza II in "Requiem pour Gaza"

Colour gang publishers , 2019 Poetry Anthology

Five Poems

Ygdrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts, 2018 Gedichte

Memories from Haifa

short story project, 2018 Fiction

Two poems

Bag Literary, 2018 Gedichte

Five Poems

WORDS & WORLDS / WORTE & WELTEN, 2017 Gedichte

To the son of a whore

Consequence publishers, 2017 Fiction

Every Poison Holds Too Much Magic

Maarav Journal, 2016 Short Story

Me arrepiento del instante

De_canta_sión, 2016 Gedicht

The black river

The Bombay Review, 2016 Fiction

Jerusalem Celestial

Amadeus, 2015 Poetry

In an Entire Ruined Village and at the Jaffa Expulsion

Zeek Magazine, 2012 Poetry


Avodat Giluy

Guerrilla Culture Publishers, 2012 Journal

The Tent Poetry

Guerrilla Culture Publishers, 2011 Poetry Colletion

The Influence of the Palestinian Nacba on the Hebrew Poetry

Pardes Publishers, 2010 Academic

To Get Out!

Guerrilla Culture Publishers, 2009 Journal

Eastward: A Literary Journal, Issue 13.

Bimat Kedem Publishers, 2007 Journal

Echoing Identities

Am Oved Publishers, 2007 Articles

Eastward: A Literary Journal, Issue 12.

Bimat Kedem Publishers, 2006 Journal

Larochav Magazine

Guerrilla Culture Publishers, 2012 Journal

The Best Poems of Guerrilla Culture

Pardes Publishers, 2010 Poetry Colletion

We Will Not Leave: Photography and Poetry from Sheikh Jarrah

Guerrilla Culture Publishers and Activestills, 2010 Journal

Eastward: A Literary Journal, Issue 15.

Bimat Kedem Publishers, 2008 Journal

Eastward: A Literary Journal, Issue 14

Bimat Kedem Publishers, 2007 Journal


Guerrilla Culture Publishers, 2007 Poetry Colletion