"Marcus’s translation is a critical contribution to our appreciation of New York as a global, multilingual literary center in the first decades of the twentieth century, and of ways in which Yiddish writers contributed to the multicultural expansion of American letters."—Justin Cammy, coeditor of Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Literature and Culture in Honor of Ruth R. Wisse
"Gerald Marcus has done us a great favor in his fine translation of Reuben Iceland, a most important figure in the American Yiddish literary world for decades."—Jules Chametzky, coeditor of Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology
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. Although influenced by their Eastern European heritage, these poets were uniquely American in their focus on exploring 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, and snippets of poetry, 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 working-class struggles to a form of Yiddish high art.
Reuben Iceland (1884–1955) was a Yiddish poet and translator. He contributed to Shriftn and to other anthologies of poetry and prose, and was the author of several poetry collections, including Fun mayn zumer. He translated works of German, English, and Chinese authors, most notably the prose and poetry of Heinrich Heine.
Gerald Marcus is a painter and printmaker who grew up surrounded by Yiddish-speaking relatives and friends. He has been a student and an avid reader of Yiddish literature for over twenty years.
6 x 9, 256 pages, 13 black and white illustrations