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Abraham Liessin
Birth Place
Minsk, Russia
Death Date
November 76, 1938
Death Place
United States

Abraham Liessin  Biography

LIESSIN, ABRAHAM (pseudonym of Abraham Walt; 1870–1938), Yiddish poet and editor. Born in Minsk (Belorussia), Liessin received a traditional Jewish education. He showed an early interest in philosophy, Haskalahliterature, and socialist reform. Besides establishing himself among Russian Jewish workers and socialist leaders as a revolutionary Yiddish poet and social satirist, he also became an active member of the Jewish Labor *Bund from its inception in 1897. That same year, his socialist agitation forced him to flee to New York, where he found work writing for and editing the Yiddish daily *Forverts. In 1913 he began a 15-year career as editor of *Di Tsukunft, a monthly Yiddish literary and cultural journal. While his socialism was nurtured by the physical poverty of New York’s Lower East Side, Liessin also noted a spiritual poverty amongst Jewish socialists. He sought to combat this trend by articulating positive role models for revolution from within the Jewish tradition. Thus although not a Zionist, Liessin was an ardent Jewish nationalist; and his writing draws inspiration from Jewish religious and national heroes such as *Judah Maccabee, *Bar Kochba, Solomon *Molcho, Rabbi *Meir of Rothenburg, and Hirsch *Lekkert. Liessin’s activism did not compromise his lyrical art, however, and he remained a meticulous editor of his own work, which is often described as lyrical and melodious. It can be read as a bridge between the idealist political poetry of the *Sweatshop Poets of the late 19th century (such as Morris *Rosenfeld and Dovid *Edelstadt) and the aestheticizing poetry of Di *Yunge at the beginning of the 20th century. Dominating his work are the idealist thematics of heroism, martyrdom, morality, and suffering (Christian imagery also features prominently), all of which served his Jewish socialist aspirations. His first collection, Moderne Lider (“Modern Poems”), was published illegally in 1897 in Minsk. His complete poetry was published in three volumes, with line drawings by Marc *Chagall, in New York in 1938 (Lider un Poemen, “Poems and Long Poems”). His prose includes a posthumously published collection entitled Zikhroynes un Bilder (“Memoires and Images,” 1954).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Reyzen, Leksikon, 2 (1927), 259–66; LNYL, 5 (1963), 179–91; B. Bialostotsky, Lider un Eseyen (1932), 79–130; E. Shulman, Geshikhte fun der Yidisher Literatur in Amerike (1943), 200–6; Z. Shazar, Or Ishim (1955), 195–207; H. Eivick, Eseyen un Redes (1963), 164–74; B. Rivkin, Yidishe Dikhter in Amerike (1959), 72–79; Waxman, Literature, 4 (1960), 1023–28; S. Bickel, Shrayber fun Mayn Dor (1965), 210–4; I. Ch. Biletzky, Essays on Yiddish Poetry and Prose Writers (1969), 15–22. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Liptzin, A History of Yiddish Literature (1972), 97–8; K. Bez, in: Tsukunft, 79 (1973), 82–5; E. Goldsmith, in: The Jewish Book Annual, 52 (1994–5), 163–75.

2 thoughts on “Four Divine States of Mind”

  1. I am reaching out to you on behalf of Saiph Stars, a non-profit organization developed for children battling illnesses, providing them with resources such as videos, songs, games, magazines, etc. to entertain and inspire them while undergoing treatments during their long hospitalizations.
    BH, we have a wide range of performers, singers, storytellers such as Yakov Shwekey, Mordechai Shapiro, Ari Goldwag, Baruch Levine, YBC, Uri Davidi, Rabbi Ashear, Rabbi Lish, Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, Rabbi Erps, Rebbee Hill, Rabbi Pesach Krohn, and many more who have joined our project by allowing us to use their material. In addition, subscriptions such as Mishpacha, Binah, The Circle, Spotlight, JWOW have all joined our project as well BH. All the material will be uploaded to locked iPads and is streamed thru the Saiph Stars App designated to be used by these children.
    We would love to include your material as it would mean a lot to the children.
    Please check out our website for more info at http://www.saiphstars.com.
    It should be a tremendous zechus for you! Looking forward to hearing from you soon!
    Shulamit

  2. Felice Glazer says:

    I was just sitting at my piano looking over a very old book of songs called the songs we sing by Harry Cooper Smith. I got this book when I went to Anshe emet Sunday school in Chicago. That was in the late forties and fifties. This book is falling apart but I love it and will never part with it until I pass away. Something today just made me decide to look up the name of Harry Coopersmith and that’s how I found this site.

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