Page 65 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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KABAKOFF----AMONG RECENT HEBREW BOOKS
53
written for the most part during his convalescence. In his child-
hood memories, various folk-types are portrayed and his father’s
role in founding a modern
heder
is described. The concluding sec-
tions offer tintypes of convalescents in a sanatorium and vignettes
of guests at a winter hotel. The notes have a poignant, reflective
quality.
The distilled wisdom of one of the most colorful of American
Hebrew poets is compressed in the ten poems included in
Adam
A l Adamot
(Man On Earth — New York, Ogen, 1947) by Ephraim
E. Lisitzky. Varied in theme, these poems express the “suffering,
bitterness and pain” of a man who has devoted more than four
decades of his life to the Hebrew creative word in America. I t is
certainly a case of self-identification when in “Vision in the Night”
the poet says:
A Hebrew poet am I,
Who laid it upon him also to be a Hebrew teacher —
A Hebrew teacher in the American
golah.
Know you the lines that are fallen unto him?
O, build a ladder of poverty, pain, bitterness, contempt
and shame,
And this helpless creature
Will stand atop the highest rung,
Above which there is no higher!
Lisitzky has drawn abundantly upon American life in his open-
ing autobiographical poems, his poem “Israel at Shittim” based
on a Negro spiritual and particularly his moving idyll “Yehezkel
Hazak.” The latter is the story of a huckster who rises to riches
in a small American town only to have his hopes dashed. Other
poems deal philosophically with life’s problems, while the tempo
of Palestine upbuilding is caught in “At the Feet of Ariel at Tel-
Hai.” The volume is prefaced by an appreciation by Menachem
Ribalow. “Man On Earth” is a summary-work that enhances and
deepens the significance of the poet’s previous works.
The poetry of Simon Ginzburg was made available here in a
reprint edition by the committee for the publication of his works.
Shirim U-Poemot
(Songs and Poems — New York, 1947) contains,
in addition to poems on themes such as love and death, a number
of translations from the best of English literature. These include
Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner.” A supplement to the volume is
the author’s biblical poem, “Queen of Sheba,” reproduced from
the manuscript. Another volume of Ginzburg’s works was
Ahavat
Hosea
(Hosea’s Love — New York, 1947), describing the tragic
love of the prophet during a waning Jewish kingdom.