Page 121 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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A V R A H A M R E G E L S O N
On the Occasion of His 70th Birthday
B
y
A
r nold
J . B
a n d
S
ho rtly
after the establishment of the State of Israel, the small
community of Hebrew writers in America was greatly im-
poverished as three of its most interesting and prolific talents
settled in the new state: Simon Halkin, Yohanan Twersky, and
Avraham Regelson. Halkin and Twersky continued to occupy
prominent positions in the world of Hebrew literature. The
former introduced a new approach to literature at the Hebrew
University and published new poems and essays; the latter has
been engaged in dozens of literary projects, as editor, novelist, or
essayist. Regelson, however, had seemed to slip into relative
obscurity even though he held several responsible editorial posts.
His poetry had not been collected and was therefore available
only to ardent readers of Hebrew poetry who were willing to
search for his two published volumes,
Kayin VaHevel
(Cain and
Abel, 1932) and
El HaAyin Venivka
(To the Nothingness and
It Burst, 1945), or to read two of his longer poems in the later
numbers of the annual
HaTekufah
which were not to be
found in many libraries. In the past year, however, Regelson’s
poetry has been published in a collected edition,
Hakukot
Otiotayich
(Inscribed Are Your Letters, Tel-Aviv, 1964), and
was awarded the Brenner Prize last fall. Both events evoked
appreciative articles from critics and brought Regelson’s poetry
to the attention of a new generation of readers. Now, in the
seventieth year of his life, which has been beset by numerous
disappointments, Regelson can entertain reasonable hopes for
the recognition he clearly deserves.
In Hebrew literary circles, Regelson is identified as one of
the “American poets,” an appelation which is quite precise both
biographically and stylistically. In 1909 Regelson came from Rus-
sia to America, where he spent his formative years and wrote
most of his poetry. He left America to settle in Israel in 1949.
Except for several years in Palestine during the early thirties,
the greater part of his mature life has been lived in America,
mostly in New York City. The American milieu has left its
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