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An Anthology of Modern Yiddish Poetry

Bilingual Edition

edited by Ruth Whitmantranslated by Ruth Whitman

Jewish Studies, Poetry, Translation, Yiddish Studies

Published: May 1995
ISBN: 9780814325339
Pages: 216 Size: 6 x 9


— Isaac Bashevis Singer

Originally published in 1966, An Anthology of Modern Yiddish Poetry was the first bilingual anthology to feature the rich, spirited, and passionate Yiddish poetry of the twentieth century. Nearly thirty years after the original publication, the interest in Yiddish studies continues to grow, making this definitive collection all the more Significant as a study of influences and developments in Yiddish poetry.

Ruth Whitman has skillfully translated the diverse, lyric poetry of fourteen Eastern European-born poets, most of whom came to live in the United States. Of the twenty new poems included in the book, two are by Rachel Korn, three by Kadya Molodowsky, four by Anna Margolin, and four by Celia Dropkin. These additions increase considerably the work of the women poets represented, fulfilling an earlier omission. The anthology also highlights the genius and invention of poets Jacob Glatstein, M.L. Halpern, Moyshe Kulbak, Zisha Landau, H. Leivick, Itzik Manger, Leyb Naydus, Melech Ravitch, Abraham Sutzkever, and Aaron Zeitlin.

With a new preface and a revised introduction that provides a short history of the development of Yiddish poetry, the third edition presents seventy-two poems in their original Yiddish and in English translation.These poems reflect the chaos and confusion integral to immigrant culture and the fragmentation of living during two world wars and the Holocaust. In addition the poems reflect the influences of American poetry from the Imagists to Robert Lowell, as well as the influence of German, French, and Russian poetry.

Ruth Whitman is a lecturer at the Radcliffe College Seminars. She is the author of eight books of her own poetry, including Hatshepsut, Speak to Me, Laughing Gas: Poems New and Selected 1963-1990, and The Testing of Hanna Senesh. Her awards and honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Bunting Institute Fellowship, and a Writer-in-Residence Fellowship to Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has received the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Kovner Book Award from the Jewish Book Council of America, the Nathan Chanin Award for Translation, as well as grants from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and three residencies at Mishkenot Sh'ananim in Jerusalem, in addition to residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo She was invited to Israel in 1974 as a guest of the Israeli government.

Contributors Include:
Celia Dropkin, Jacob Glatstein, M L. Halpern, Rachel Korn, Moyshe Kulbak, Zisha Landau, H Leivick, Itzik Manger, Anna Margolin, Kadya Molodowsky, Leyb Naydus, Melech Ravitch, Abraham Sutzkever, Aaron Zeitlin

Wonderful . . . for those who want to study the Yiddish language and to enjoy what is good in Yiddish poetry. [Ruth Whitman] has managed to make the translations highly faithful to the Yiddish and at the same time beautiful in English. The choice of poets is excellent.

– Isaac Bashevis Singer