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From Our Springtime

Literary Memoirs and Portraits of Yiddish New York

edited by Gerald Marcus

Publication Year: 2012

A memoir of Yiddish literary life in New York during the early decades of the twentieth century. Reuben Iceland was a central figure of the YUNGE (The Young Ones) which was one of the most important and innovative poetic groups in Yiddish literary history. They established Yiddish poetic modernism in the U.S.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Cover Art

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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xxiv

In the early years of the twentieth century, a number of young Jewish poets immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe. They came together in New York City and formed one of the most important groups in Yiddish literary history. Reuben Iceland, who was a central member of the group, tells us the intimate stories of these poets’ lives. He...

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pp. xxv-xxviii

With eleven of the twelve articles, longer and shorter, that make up the fi rst part of this book, I simply want to give my intimate impressions of the life and work of these poets and writers of my generation who were personally close and dear to me. Of course, in writing about them, their time, their activities, their disputes, their outlook on life,...

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With Zishe Landau

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pp. 1-29

We were four. Three wrote poetry and one, novels. Almost thirty years knit together. In literature and personally. We spent a lot of time together, dreamed together, together published journals and anthologies, quarreled and argued, sometimes over foolish whims, sometimes over wounded vanity, sometimes over serious personal matters and theoretical ...

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Twenty-Five Years Later

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pp. 30-59

This is the twenty-fifth spring since the publication of the third volume of Shriftn, the first series of our anthologies. It’s an important date for Yiddish literature because, with those three books, a period began and ended in that poetic movement that brought a new message to the whole of Yiddish literature, a message that today is still known under ...

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With Mani Leyb

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pp. 60-101

I got to know Mani Leyb during the winter of 1905/06. He had been in the country for only a few months, I for over two years. Alexander Zeldin, who came to America almost at the same time as Mani Leyb, introduced us. All three of us were then young, apprentice writers, and all of us had to do physical work to make a living: Mani Leyb, until he...

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Moyshe Leyb Halpern

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pp. 102-107

Among Moyshe Leyb Halpern’s colleagues, I was not the closest to him. At one time there had even been a quiet but bitter argument between our circle and him. We accused him of arrogance, bombast, melodrama, and burlesque. The last referred to his satirical poems. He, for his part, accused us of recycled lyricism and slovenliness because of our “resignation”...

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David Ignatoff

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pp. 108-113

David Ignatoff did not begin a new chapter of our literature. He was, though, central to a beginning. Historians will one day be very interested in the literary fi gure David Ignatoff because he was a uniquely expressive writer and mainly because he was an important literary activist. In the writer Ignatoff, historians will fi nd a lot of pluses but also not a few ...

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I. J. Schwartz

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pp. 114-121

Yesterday, I. J. Schwartz and his wife Mary were our guests. Whenever Schwartz comes, it’s like a holiday for us. But not yesterday. We were sitting outside in the long, narrow garden that stretches from my apartment to Washington Avenue, looking at the six banana trees that grow in two clumps not far from my windows. They extend their long, wide, windtossed...

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Anna Margolin

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pp. 122-164

The complete picture of Anna Margolin will be revealed only when someone is found who will read, sort, and put into order the hundreds of letters she left behind, which fi ll quite a large valise. The letters are in Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew, and some also in English. Most of the letters were written to her. A great number, though, are from her to others....

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I. Kisin

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pp. 165-167

It does not seem so long ago that we started complaining that our ranks were thinning. And already half a generation is gone. The last to leave us was I. Kisin, poet, translator, and reviewer. As a journalist, he was associated with a newspaper for twenty-fi ve years, yet he was unknown to the general public. And only among writers and a few readers is it known ...

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Herman Gold

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pp. 168-171

I just, but really just, only four days ago, sat at my desk and read in a letter concerning a remark that was made about me: “Herman Gold smiled into his beard and drank another glass—‘L’khaim! L’khaim tovim, arukhim v’l’sholem!’ (To life! To a good, long life and to peace!) and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.”...

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A Home for Yiddish Writers

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pp. 172-176

When someone, at some future time, writes the history of Yiddish literature in America, he will again and again have to mention the name of Dr. Yekhiel Kling. And that is because he often appears in the memoirs of Yiddish writers. His apartment was always a gathering place for writers....

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Goodman and Levine’s Restaurant

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pp. 177-183

Today, in the basement of Der Tog, you’ll fi nd the mailroom and the presses. And where today it smells of ink, lead, paper dust, and postal sacks, years earlier, before Der tog was born, it smelled of cooked fi sh and roast herring, sour borscht and fried pancakes, bad coffee and scorched milk, and still other odors that were so thoroughly mixed up, it was hard...

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Sixty Days with Abraham Liessin

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pp. 184-205

It was in the middle of winter, soon after New Year’s, 1938, when B. I. Bialostotski told me that the couple Malke Lee and Aaron Rappaport, both poets, had built a summer colony at the foot of a mountain in a beautiful area of Ulster County. They had built fi ve cottages, and almost all of them were already rented. The biggest one, which was intended for...

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Afterword Twenty-Five Years and a Century Afterward

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pp. 206-216

This year must be a Reuben Iceland landmark of some kind, as 1912 was the heyday of the poetic movement Di Yunge (The young), which he helped to found. If it is not a centennial, then at least for me it marks a quarter centennial, because I vividly remember reading his memoir Fun unzer friling (From Our Springtime) twenty-five years ago, while giving lectures...

Guide to Pronunciation of Transliterated Words

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pp. 217-218

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pp. 219-228

Menakhem Boraisha (Goldberg), also known as Menakhem, b. 1888, Brest-Litovsk, Polish Lithuania, d. 1949, New York. The son of a Hebrew teacher, he received his Jewish education at home and later attended the local Russian school. In 1905 he moved to Warsaw and joined I. L. Peretz’s literary circle. He published his fi rst poems in Der veg in 1906. He published a cycle of poems ...


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pp. 229-232


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pp. 233-236

Further Reading, About the Author, Back Cover

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pp. 237-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9780815651970
E-ISBN-10: 081565197X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815633037
Print-ISBN-10: 0815633033

Page Count: 230
Illustrations: 12 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2012