Literary Memoirs and Portraits of Yiddish New York
by Reuben Iceland
translated by Gerald Marcus
In New York in 1907, a group of avant-garde Yiddish poets came together to transform Yiddish literature. Seeking a pure artistic expression, they would rid Yiddish poetry of foreign influences and overbearing political and religious rhetoric. While influenced by their Eastern European heritage, these poets were nonetheless uniquely American in their focus on the exploration of the individual. Calling themselves di Yunge (the Young Ones), this group was led in part by Reuben Iceland. From Our Springtime is Iceland’s memoir as well as a reflection on the lives of the di Yunge poets. With its vivid characters, beautifully crafted descriptions, snippets of poetry, and clear analysis of the poems, this book is a work of art in its own right, and an essential resource for anyone interested in Yiddish American poetry. Translated into English for the first time, From Our Springtime brings this period in New York literary history to life and tells the story of how these poets transformed Yiddish poetry from an expression of workingclass struggles to a form of Yiddish high art.