SIBERIA by A. Sutzkever


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Abraham Sutzkever, who spent 7 years of his childhood in Siberia, is a leading Yiddish poet, exiled from his native Lithuania, living now in Israel where he edits The Golden Chain, a literary magazine of contemporary Jewish writing. Siberia, a single poem of 24 stanzas, was written in 1935, published in Israel in 1953, and is translated here by Jacob Sonntag. In his introduction, Mr. Sonntag tells us that the poem was ""rigidly constructed on the same pattern of metre and rhyme throughout""; however, the form has been greatly relaxed in this definitely ""free translation"". Somewhat nostalgically evoking the Siberia of his childhood, the poet re-creates the landscape and events with both the touches of fantasy appropriate to a child and the vision and deeper apprehension of the true poet. Mr. Sutzkever's poetry reveals an extremely sharp visual dimension and physical intensity, and his consistent but ever-changing use of symbols and images of sun, moon, snow, intense colors, light, and shadow create another level of unity within the poem. The eight original drawings created by Marc Chagall especially for this translation of the poem, are almost an integral part of the text; Chagall's preface is painful. All in all, this is a very moving piece of poetry, beautifully illustrated.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1961
Publisher: Abelard-Schuman