gili estlin hirsch

Gili Estlin Hirsch collage

gili estlin hirsch

social poetry

I'll write you words; but will words find you?


a portrait of Gili Estlin Hirsch

Gili Estlin "G.E." Hirsch is a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and author. Born and raised near Tel Aviv, Israel, she uses dense and rich language to create striking poetry that explores themes such as love and relationships and queer life.

Gili has studied literature at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and creative writing at the School of the Arts Institute in Chicago and at Emerson College in Boston. Gili is published in several magazines and collections on and offline, and in a poem anthology that celebrates Leonard Cohen's work. In 2013, Gili's poem "More or Less" was published in the online literary journal Saudades. Selections from the Body of Work series were published in Issue #4 of Skin to Skin magazine in December 2013.

Gili was born in Kfar Saba, a city near Tel Aviv, in Israel. She picked up English as a native tongue despite it not being spoken at her home, and her parents encouraged this by playing her music and shows in English. She soon began learning other languages, including Spanish, Romanian and French, and developed an interest in linguistics. She began writing when she was 11. Her major poetry experience began at the age of 13, following the second Lebanon War in Israel. She honed her skills in various workshops and was first published at the age of 21.

Gili is also the founder of the social poetry movement, Apples Etc. The mission of Apples Etc. is to give real, tangible room for poetry in the art world by bringing it to life visually, uprooting it from its nestled rest on shelves, and providing words with the room to present themselves in an immediate and hard-hitting way.

Gili enjoys music, reading, and writing, dancing, and working with animals. She was raised dancing classical ballet and specialized in show jumping in her horse riding career. She currently dances more loose styles and considers this a huge inspiration for her poetry and art. Gili volunteers with queer and LGBT youth and with the Ethiopian community in Israel, as well as working with the organization OneVoice, aimed to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Gili's favourite colour is grey and she has an odd fascination with birds, and an obsession with Leonard Cohen, to whom she refers as Mori--meaning "teacher" in Hebrew--in many of her poems. Her favorite cities are Berlin and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She's a Sagittarius and her favorite vegetable is the potato.

What is social poetry?