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PUBLICATIONS IN OTHER LANGUAGES / 3 501 3/ EUGENE Y. ORENSTEIN The year 1977 saw the publication of only five titles by Canadian-Yiddish authors. This small output does, however, include a work by one of the outstanding poets of contemporary world Yiddish literature, Rachel Korn, whose eightieth birthday is being celebrated in 1978. Farbitene vor [Supplanted Reality) (Tel Aviv: Israel-Book Publishing House 1977), the poet's ninth collection of verse, harkens back, in a fashion, to her first book, Dorf [Village) (1928). Rachel Korn's early literary acclaim was the result of her imagist rendering of the landscape of her native Galician village. However, everi in the early stage of her poetic development she was not simply a landscapist. Her images of the forces of nature served as metaphors to express her own emotions and moods and to describe her personal experiences. Korn's personal statements and her reflections on mankind were revealed through nature, and this technique has persisted in her work and been used effectively in her latest book. In Korn's new book we again find the landscapes of the'old home' in Eastern Europe, but a new dimension has been added to her poetry when she sees herself in our present-day world of a 'supplanted reality' which has 'placeq her like a partition between yesterday and today.' In her latest poems Korn has passed over a boundary - as she tells us in one poem - which not everyone can cross, and 'in the concealed circle' which she has entered 'only saints, fools, and prophets of extinct worlds feel at home.' The poet belongs to the last group, and her'extinct worlds' are the key to this collection of poetry. The expression 'extinct worlds' has a double meaning for Korn. It refers to the hopes, dreams, and expectations of the individual which have declined or been destroyed during the course of a normal life; but to a Jewish and Yiddish poet formed by the Eastern European experience, it must also refer to the world of European Jewry destroyed in the Holocaust. This unspeakable tragedy casts its shadow on all of the poet's experiences and feelings and gives her poetry a special dimension; it gives Korn the poet a special calling in our world of a 'supplanted reality' - to give voice to all that was lost in the 'extinct worlds.' The other collection of Yiddish poetry to appear in 1977 was M.M. Shaffir's Mit tsugeneygte reyd (Words of Endearment) (New York: Shulsinger Bros. '977). This collection, the poet's ninth, continues to exhibit the characteristic strengths and weaknesses of his work, i.e., the purity of his poetic diction, the musicality and folksong quality of his verse, paired with the noticeably unassimilated influence of his fellow Bukoyinian , the renowed Yiddish poet Itsik Manger. This influence is particularly marked in his sentimental lyrics as well as in the poems in which biblical figures are portrayed using the Eastern European Yiddish idiom and placed in the shtetl milieu. Elegies dedicated to the poet's Bukoyi- 502 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 nian townlet and family destroyed in the Holocaust dominate this collection . In reporting on Yiddish poetry in Canada, we should mention that a French translation of a verse-novel by Sholem Shtern has recently appeared . The rendering by Guy Maheux is based on an English translation (The White HOllse, discussed in last year's review in these pages) and is entitled Veivi (Montreal: La societe de belles-lettres Guy Maheux 1977). Because of the extended strike affecting the French-language press in Montreal, the reception accorded this translation by the francophone literary community cannot yet be gaged at the writing of this review. A very interesting and unusual addition to the large corpus of Yiddish memoir literature of Eastern European Jewish immigrants is Manya Lipshitz's BietIekh fun a shturmisher tsayt [Memories of Stormy Times] (Toronto: Sam Lipshitz - Diversified Publicity Bureau 1977). The writing of this book was sparked by the rediscovery, after more than fifty years, of three issues of a handwritten Yiddish magazine, Komunar [Communard ], published by the youngsters of the 'Twelfth Jewish Children's Labour Commune' in the city of Vitebsk, Soviet Belorussiya...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 501-503
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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