Page 43 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 12

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BIALOSTOTZKY----AMERICAN YIDDISH LITERATURE
37
the M ill
by Joseph Rolnick, as well as in the la t te r’s memoirs,
which often rise to symbolism; Rolnick’s poetry resembles Amer-
ica’s nature poet, Robert Frost. We find tha t nostalgia too in the
poem
Tarnov
by Reuben Eisland; in the tenderly lyrical home-
town portraits of Mani Leib (
Snow Area
,
Ukrainian Steppe)
; in
Daniel Charney’s memoirs of Dukar; in By
the Rivers of Polessia
by N. Brusilov; in
A City Full of Jews
by S. Bikel; in the novel
On Grandfather s Fields
by I. Metzker; in the memoirs, interwoven
with much folklore and historical facts, by M. Osherowitz; in the
half-realistic, half-fantastic stories of M. J. Shelubsky; in the
volumes of memoirs called
Poland
by I. I. Trunk; in
My Father s
Inn
by I. Horowitz; in poems about the town of Michaelishok by
Meinke Katz. Some writers produced works in the form of fiction
and poetry while others wrote in the form of interesting memoirs.
Permeating these writings was a longing for the traditional
Jewish holiday celebrations, for the wholesomeness of Jewish folk-
life of the past, for the high ethical traditions of tha t East European
Jewry which, alas, is no more. As by-products of home-sickness
most of these literary creations needed the long perspective of
time and place and could not have been produced in former Jewish
centers, such as Warsaw, Vilna, Odessa and Cracow, when Jewish
life was in full bloom there.
We find a longing for the old Sabbath, for the singing of
Zemirot
and for the Prophet Elijah in the ballads of Mani Leib; in the
Hassidic motifs of J . J. Sigal; in the poem
Youthful Years
by J. J.
Schwartz; in such poems as
Queen of Sabbath
,
The Strikover
Rebbetzin
, and
The Holy Baal-Shem Tov
by Zisha Landau; in the
vigorous prose of
A World That Is No More
by I. J. Singer; in the
Baal Shem poems of M. Bassin; in the two volumes,
Yidden
, by
Naftali Gross; in the poem
Raisha
by Berish Weinstein; in
Longing
for Mother
by Malka Lee; in the work of A. Berger and in the
poetry written since the Nineties by A. M. Sharkansky and Joseph
Yaffe. Even in those days, in the turmoil of radical, revolutionary
agitation, there sprouted, like grass beside a fence, these tender
songs of nationalistic and folk longing.
Beside the lyrical and Sabbath motifs there also appeared poems
of a grotesque nature, written by poets who in th a t manner, it
would seem, wished to overcome in some degree the home-sickness
which smacked of too much sentimentality. These include the
satiric poems on the Galician town of Zlotschew by M. L. Halperin;
comic reminiscences by Moishe Nadir; and
Kumarna Types
, by
Kalman Heisler.
This represents wide literary creation which depicts for us
human lives, folklore, folkways, and the landscapes of Ukraine,