Page 228 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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form, they mirrored an entire era. A love of traditional Jewish
values and a reverence for our great biblical heroes are among
the hallmarks of this author’s writing. Several of his poems re-
spond to the Nazi holocaust and to the miracle of rebirth in the
Jewish State. Israel J. Schwartz (1885־
), a brother of Abra-
ham, made his mark in Yiddish poetry. He rendered into Hebrew
his Yiddish epic poem on the South,
Sh ira t K en tu c k y
(Song of
Kentucky, 1962), dealing with the vicissitudes of a Jewish immi-
grant who settled in Kentucky in the years follow ing the Civil
War.
H illel Bavli (1893-1961), whose last collection
A d e r e t ha-Shanim
(The Mantle of Years) was published in Israel in 1955, combined
in his lyrical poetry an abiding concern for the Jewish past with
an appreciation of the manifestations of beauty and truth. His
poetic range included many world scenes, but next to Israel
he sang w ith the greatest rapture of the beauties of America. In
his notable poem “A Mormon Relates,” he identified closely
w ith the struggles of the Mormons in founding Salt Lake City.
His sense of loneliness is revealed in a poem dedicated to the
memory of his fellow poets, B .N. Silkiner and Simon Ginzburg,
in which he questioned the future of Hebrew poetry in America.
Ephraim E. Lisitzky (1883-1962) contributed to American He-
brew poetry for well over a half century and several of his books
were published in Israel during his last years. An earlier volume,
A d am A l A d am o t
(Man On Earth, 1947), contains the poem
“Yehezkel Hazak,” which has been characterized as “the first
idyll o f American Jewish life .” In it Lisitzky describes the career
of a Jewish folk-type who rose to riches in a small American town
but whose happiness is marred by what happened to his children.
Versatile in style, Lisitzky ranged over the gamut o f poetic
themes with varying success. His output includes many lyrical
poems suffused by pessimism, portraits of old-world figures, de-
scriptions of American scenes, reactions to the holocaust and
songs of identification with Israel.
Moses Feinstein (1897-1964) was the author of an historical
poem entitled
A b rah am A bu la f ia ,
which appeared in 1956. It
skillfully delineates the character and strivings of the 13th-century
mystic and Kabbalist and achieves fine poetic effects by inter-
spersing the free verse narrative with rhymed poems. Unfor-
tunately, the deep personal tragedies which Feinstein experienced
in his last years beclouded his work. A member of the group of
poets who reached their apogee in the period between the two
World Wars, his vibrant and romantic tones became somber and
tragic. His last collection, published posthumously in Israel in
1964, is fittingly entitled
A l Saf ha -M ave t
(On the Threshold of
Death).