Page 246 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
Jewish poetry. “Reznikoff’s poems are clearly recognizable as
the outpouring of a
Yiddishe ne shamah”
A. Alan Steinbach
wrote. “His
Jerusalem the Golden
is reminiscent of the mood
of Jehudah Halevi, and his stanzas from
In Memor iam
breathe
the passion of Bialik. His trilogy on Russia, America and Pales-
tine reveals a penetrating spiritual insight, and his
Palest ine
under the Romans ,
based on the Mishnah, is a poignant
cri de
coeur.
Two deeply moving poems—one on the Kaddish de
Rabanan and the other on the Mourners’ Kaddish—are muted
music in a minor chord; they take hold and do not let go.
“Reznikoff’s poems employ language whose beauty consists in
its sheer simplicity. They are naked of illusion; they are scalpels
cutting into the root of the flowers, even when such penetration
must sever the root. Here is a poet who keeps his lines always
succinct and direct and whose uncanny incisiveness propels him
to the apex of words as if they are mountains to be climbed.”
Charles Reznikoff, born in Brooklyn, in 1894, has written
verse, fiction, and on American Jewish history. His verse has
appeared in a number of magazines, chiefly
Poe try , The Menorah
Journal , Commentary ,
and
Mids tream,
and in several anthologies.
The Jewish Publication Society of America has published his
historical novel on the Jews of medieval England,
The Lion-
hearted
(1944), his history,
The Jews of Charleston
(in collabora-
tion with Uriah Z. Engelman, 1950), and
Louis Marshal l , Cham
־
pion of Liberty: Selected Papers and Addresses,
edited by Charles
Reznikoff (with an introduction by Oscar Handlin, 1957).
Charles Reznikoff is managing editor of the
Jewish Frontier.
He is married to Marie Syrkin.