Perhaps the greatest Hebrew poet since biblical times, Judah Halevi (ca. 1075-1141) is best-known for his “Songs of Zion,” written late in life. But when Halevi first appeared on the stage of history, he was just a young man, incredibly talented - and completely unknown. This study focuses on Halevi’s earliest period of creativity within a circle of Hebrew poets centering on the Muslim city-kingdom of Granada. Part One examines the lure of Muslim Spain for an up-and-coming young poet and the poems paving his way thither; Part Two, the social setting in which this circle of poets flourished and the dynamics behind many of its poems. A number of poems are brought in translation, many for the first time.