Page 191 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 11 (1952-1952)

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volume selection of Reisen’s poetry was issued in Yiddish in con-
nection with his seventy-fifth birthday.
“One could glean out of his published work, poetry and prose,
enough to establish him as the sweetest singer in Yiddish litera-
ture,” says Joseph Leftwich. Yet there is not available today a
single book in the English language containing a representative
selection of Reisen’s prose or poetry. Many years ago the Jewish
Publication Society of America published in English an anthology
of Yiddish short stories, entitled
Yiddish Tales
, which is still
available and which contains seven of Reisen’s short stories,
occupying about fifty of the book’s pages. A handful of Reisen’s
stories have appeared in other English-language anthologies and
many have been published in magazines. In fiction and in poetry
Reisen has immortalized the simple piety and charm of Jewish
small-town life of Eastern Europe that many of us can still re-
member. There is now a crying need for a Reisen volume in
English that will enshrine this life for the benefit of future genera-
tions of English-reading Jews in America and elsewhere for whom
the life of their ancestors across the seas at the beginning of this
century holds a great moral lesson.