Originally published in 1966, An Anthology of Modern Yiddish Poetry was the first bilingual anthology to feature the rich, spirited, and passionate Yiddish poetry of the twentieth century. Nearly thirty years after the original publication, the interest in Yiddish studies continues to grow, making this definitive collection all the more Significant as a study of influences and developments in Yiddish poetry.
Ruth Whitman has skillfully translated the diverse, lyric poetry of fourteen Eastern European-born poets, most of whom came to live in the United States. Of the twenty new poems included in the book, two are by Rachel Korn, three by Kadya Molodowsky, four by Anna Margolin, and four by Celia Dropkin. These additions increase considerably the work of the women poets represented, fulfilling an earlier omission. The anthology also highlights the genius and invention of poets Jacob Glatstein, M.L. Halpern, Moyshe Kulbak, Zisha Landau, H. Leivick, Itzik Manger, Leyb Naydus, Melech Ravitch, Abraham Sutzkever, and Aaron Zeitlin.
With a new preface and a revised introduction that provides a short history of the development of Yiddish poetry, the third edition presents seventy-two poems in their original Yiddish and in English translation.These poems reflect the chaos and confusion integral to immigrant culture and the fragmentation of living during two world wars and the Holocaust. In addition the poems reflect the influences of American poetry from the Imagists to Robert Lowell, as well as the influence of German, French, and Russian poetry.