Kathryn Hellerstein

In New York: A Selection, Moyshe-Leyb Halpern’s Yiddish poems

Poem by Moyshe-Leyb Halpern (Translated by Kathryn Hellerstein)

MEMENTO MORI

And should Moyshe-Leyb, the poet, say
That he saw Death along the waves
Just as he sees himself in the mirror,
And it was in the morning, around ten—
Will they believe Moyshe-Leyb?

And should Moyshe-Leyb have greeted Death
With his hand in the air and asked how things are,
Just then, while thousands of people
Were in the water living it up—
Will they believe Moyshe-Leyb?

And should Moyshe-Leyb, in tears, have sworn
That he is drawn to Death
As a desiring man at dusk is drawn
To the window of a woman he adores—
Will they believe Moyshe-Leyb?

And should Moyshe-Leyb have then portrayed
Death—dazzling, colorful, not gray
And dark—as he appeared around ten,
Alone, between sky and waves—
Will they believe Moyshe-Leyb?

Selected Works

Literary Criticism
Stanford University Press (2014) http://www.sup.org/search/search.cgi?search=Hellerstein&x=8&y=3 A Question of Tradition REVIEWS OF A QUESTION OF TRADITION: 3/8/15 Philadelphia Inquirer, reviewed by Elizabeth Martins: Aside from the alluring treasury of poems this book holds, it is also a magnum opus unto itself. Author Kathryn Hellerstein, professor of Yiddish in the department of Germanic languages and literature at the University of Pennsylvania, worked on it for about 25 years. So it is not surprising that she writes with such powerful authority about poems that seem to be gushing with life. View "NONFICTION" article at http://tablet.olivesoftware.com/Olive/Tablet/PhiladelphiaInquirer/SharedArticle.aspx?href=PHQP%2F2015%2F03%2F08&id=Ar09010 1/15/15 Cleaver Magazine, reviewed by Alyssa Quint: A Question of Tradition ( Kathryn Hellerstein ) was reviewed in Cleaver Magazine 1/13/15. "Women’s Yiddish poetry finally gets its scholarly due from Kathryn Hellerstein, long-time champion of the female Yiddish poetic voice, in her comprehensive and accessible account, A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586–1987 . . . Hellerstein’s book is comprehensive, supplying the biographical details of six important poets’ lives in one volume for the first time. Letters she quotes are revealing. . . . [Hellerstein's] book provides an amplitude to the discussion of these women that was previously denied them. The translations, accurate in meaning and still with the effortlessness of poetic language, capture the urgency of their voices. And Hellerstein’s book lays to rest any question of tradition; it is there: inflected by prayer as the book’s framework suggests, but also colored by difficult lives and a confidence born of their survival."—Alyssa Quint, Cleaver Magazine http://www.cleavermagazine.com/a-question-of-tradition-women-poets-in-yiddish-by-kathryn-hellerstein-reviewed-by-alyssa-quint/ _________________________________________
Poetry Translation
A "wonderful poet" "excellently translated" from Yiddish.
The New Republic
Yiddish poems from Halpern’s 1919 book in English verse translation.
Literature Anthology
The most comprehensive anthology of Jewish American Literature ever published.

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