Songs to a Moon­struck Lady: Women in Yid­dish Poetry

The Dora Teit­el­boim Cen­ter for Yid­dish Culture
  • Review
By – October 18, 2011
This vol­ume com­bines poet­ry about women by women and poems about women by men. To quote an unre­lat­ed crit­ic, it has many small, sat­is­fy­ing sur­pris­es.” Its lay­out — rec­to page has the Yid­dish orig­i­nal at the right mar­gin; ver­so, Eng­lish is on the left mar­gin — leaves con­tem­pla­tive space for the bilin­gual read­er. In 12 top­i­cal sec­tions — love, moth­er, art, chil­dren, Holo­caust, reli­gion, etc. — poets of less­er rep­u­ta­tions are sequenced alpha­bet­i­cal­ly with lumi­nar­ies such as Grade, Sutzkev­er, Raisen, Molodowsky, Drop­kin, serv­ing all well.

For the casu­al read­er, short para­graphs about each writer are includ­ed. The trans­la­tions read sat­is­fy­ing­ly, and are some­what free; in a few cas­es, how­ev­er, trans­la­tion of an entire Yid­dish stan­za has been omit­ted. Songs will raise inter­est in Yid­dish as a writ­ten language.

Arlene B. Soifer earned degrees in Eng­lish, and has had many years of expe­ri­ence as a free­lance writer, edi­tor, and pub­lic rela­tions professional.

Discussion Questions