Page 23 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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13
BLOCH ---- THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
issued by the National Jewish Welfare Board primarily to meet
practical needs of young people’s groups.
Joseph's coat
by Whitney Montgomery (Dallas, Kaleidograph
Press, 1946) is a modest collection of ballads, lyrics and sonnets,
while
How God f ix Jonah
by Lorenz Graham; illustrated by
Letterio Calapai (New York, Reynal and Hitchcock, 1946) con-
tains biblical tales retold in the rhythm , dialect and idiom of the
West African natives.
Rather meager is the year’s output of poetry and drama of
Jewish content.
Family circle
by Eve Merriam (New Haven,
Yale University Press, 1946) is a volume in the Yale Series of
Younger Poets in which, among other verses, is a group of poems
on subjects distinctly biblical. The
Book of Joseph
, servant and
prophet of God by Joseph Low (New York, 1946) consists of
poems divided into three groups: book of truths, book of psalms
and Kabala mysteries.
The tower of David and other poems
by the
Rev. Dr. Victor E. Reichert (Cincinnati, 1946) was published by
Congregation B’ne Israel, Cincinnati, Ohio, in commemoration
of the twentieth anniversary of the poet’s association with it.
Vigorously touching verse is offered by Helen Wolfert in
Nothing
is a wonderful things
a story-poem of Jewish tenement life (New
York, Simon and Schuster, 1946). She writes of Jews, for it is
Jews th a t she knows best. But these slum people are not neces-
sarily Jews, they are ju s t people who “die dead-gray for the for-
ever of seventy years.” A literary curiosity is
Shylock
, a one-act
comedy in verse by David Polowe (Paterson, N . J . , The Colt
Press, 1946). Building upon Shakespeare’s plot, Dr. Polowe makes
of Lorenzo a Jew who, while an infant, when his parents were
killed during a raid on the Jewish quarters, was adopted and reared
by Bassanio. Addressing Shylock, Bassanio says:
“Hold! Hold! — Lorenzo, thought to be my son,
Though raised from infancy in Christian sun —
Was born a Jew of Tubal whom we knew
So long ago — your friend the bandits slew.
The mother dead, Lorenzo, Teft alone
To roam — I took him, reared him as my own.
Thus Jessica a Jew has surely wed —
Now, Shylock — raise your daughter from the dead.’*
Thus Shylock is placated and the scene ends with everyone happy.
While the supply of novels in which contemporary life is dealt
with is more abundant than others, those in which past experiences
are reflected, although less numerous, are more helpful to the
reader who, through the pages of fiction, seeks to acquire knowl-
edge of life in years gone-by. Such a novel as
The spirit returneth