In the wake of sadness, a ray of light and a prize for promising young poets
On 26 February 2017, aged just 15, Bar Sagi passed away after a terrible battle with bone cancer. Born in Rehovot, Israel, Bar’s greatest delight was reading and it wasn't long before she took to writing herself. She left behind a remarkable legacy, including two full-length books, several short stories and 25 breathtaking poems that reflected her hopes to recover, the suffering the cancer caused and her fear of impending death.
To honour her memory, Bar’s family has created an annual Bar Sagi Young Poets Prize. Voices Israel, a non-profit organisation bringing people together through poetry, will appoint the judges and award the prize. Its value will be 750 Israeli shekels (approximately £164), which will be divided between 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The competitors must be under the age of 19 and their poems should be in English and no longer than 41 lines. Winners will be expected to read their work – in person or via video link – at the prize giving ceremony in Israel in spring 2020. The winning poems will then be published in the annual Voices Anthology.
Six of Bar’s poems have appeared on Israel's Ministry of Education site and the entire collection, together with her autobiography, was published by Gvanim last year under the title Bar Sagi: See Me Soar and Spread My Wings. It is beautifully illustrated by the original artwork of Ellie Makar-Limanov. Winners of the Bar Sagi Young Poets Prize will be presented with a copy of this book at the ceremony.
By Anthony Joseph, Bar's maternal grandfather
Photo by Yuri Lev Studio, Rishon Le Zion
Further details about the Bar Sagi Young Poets Prize can be found at voicesisrael.com/bar-sagi-prize
Those wishing to purchase a copy of Bar Sagi: See Me Soar and Spread My Wings can do so at some Steimatzky stores (including the Ben-Gurion Airport branch) or by contacting email@example.com.