Page 55 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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BLOCH----THE YEAR’S BOOKSHELF
blasphemy in his sonnet to her. Thomas Sugrue in an unusual
appraisal of this book finds some of Hoffenstein’s verse to be
“lovely, serious things
That have no humor but do have wings:
“Desert Song” ’s one, “Churchbells” two
(The song of a boy who wakes up a Jew):
Lost in the United States
Lost behind the Ghetto gates,
No bird, yet wingless, lost in air,
Alone and alien everywhere.”
Trial of a poet, and otherpoems
by Karl Shapiro (N. Y., Reynal &
Hitchcock, ’47) includes verses of autobiographical content,
barbed satire and challenging point of view. Shapiro tends to
regard his Jewishness as a strange phenomenon in his make-up,
recognizing it as one of the sources of his uneasiness as well as of
his brilliance.
Jolly jingles for the Jewish child
by Ben Aronin, delightfully
illustrated by Lili Cassel (N. Y., Behrman, ’47), is a charming
collection of captivating jingles which tantalize the pre- and
early Jewish school child with the customs and practices of the
holidays. They help him capture the festive moods of the signifi-
cant days in the Jewish year. It is a collection of verse which make
possible the giving of a definite place to the holidays and some
quaint Jewish customs in the day-dreams of the Jewish child’s
world.
The blending of poetry and prose is found in a dramatic compo-
sition entitled
Noah and the waters
by Cecil Day Lewis (Forest
Hills, N. Y., Transatlantic arts, ’47). Written in the tradition of
the morality play, it portrays the decision which Noah must
make between his former life and entrusting himself to the flood.
The biblical story of Ruth and Naomi is the subject of
Ruth;
a
play by Mrs. Jessie Hertslet (S. Pasadena, Cal., Perkins, ’48).
Mortimer J. Cohen’s
By these lights we walk
(N. Y., National
Jewish Welfare Board, ’47) is a dramatic pageant in four panels
depicting the spiritual “lights” — Ner Tamid, Sabbath Lights,
Hannukah Lights, Memorial Lamp — that have sustained the
courage, hope and faith of Israel throughout the ages. A Hanukah
play in several scenes, written with little knowledge of play writ-
ing or prosody, is
The miracle of the dreidle
by N. Mindel (Brooklyn,
N. Y., Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, ’47). It employs humor,
novel situations and a candle drill. An unusual Purim play is
The
miracle of the scrolls
or the Purim of Saragossa in three acts with
prologue and epilogue by Rabbi Louis I. Newman (N. Y., Re-
nascence Press, ’47). It is based on an actual historical episode