- Drunk from the Bitter Truth: The Poems of Anna Margolin
Anna Margolin was born Rosa Lebensboym in Belarus in 1887 and emigrated to the U.S. in 1913. She used many pseudonyms for her writings, which appeared in many of the popular Yiddish media in the 1900s. In fact, it was a bit of mystery in literary circles as to who was behind many of her works (some thought a man). She "settled" her poetic name, however, to Anna Margolin, and while there is only one volume of her poems, it is influential and respected. In this parallel bi-lingual Yiddish/ English text, we see the common themes and styles of her work, such as in "I Have Wandered So Much"—"I have wandered so much, beloved, through strange and dark lives,/ through hearts like wastelands—be kind," and in "Gates": "I pass through a thousand high-vaulted gates/that resound with solemn bronze./The Sun spreads out like an organ's song/through the glowing gates flung open,/ with their engraved epics of love and despair and revolt…" Her work resonates with today's feminist and Jewish concerns about looking at the chasms between searching for intellectual and spiritual meaning in a maddening material world. Shirley Kumove's critical, fascinating biographical introduction adds a valuable framework to the anthology, which was a 2007 runner up for the National Jewish Book Award in Poetry and a 2007 Yiddish Literature and Translation from Yiddish winner by the Helen and Stan Vine Annual Canadian Jewish Book Awards.