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Aron Glanz-Leyeles

Aron Glanz-Leyeles

Aron Glanz-Leyeles  Biography

Aron Glanz-Leyeles was born Aron Glanz in Wloclawek, Poland in 1889 and grew up in Lodz. His first poetic efforts as a child were in Russian.

Only after his immigration to the U.S. in 1909, did he begin publishing in Yiddish, making his debut in 1914 in the anarchist Di Fraye Arbeter Shtime. The same year he joined the staff of the Yiddish daily Der Tog, where he served as political and literary editor for over 50 years and wrote a weekly column of literary criticism, Velt un Vort (World and Word). He wrote prose under his own name, A. Glanz, and poetry under the pseudonym A. Leyeles. Together with Glatshteyn and Minkov, he was one of the founders in 1919 and chief theoretician of Inzikh, Yiddish Introspectivism in America. Although a champion of free verse, he was also one of the most inventive of Yiddish poets, introducing such strict verse forms as the viUanelle and rondeau into Yiddish poetry. His poetry volumes include Labirint (Labyrinth; 1918) and Yungharbst (Young Autumn; 1922).

In 1926 he published Rondos un Andere Lider (Rondeaux and Other Poems), in which he celebrates urbanism and the power of New York and experiments with both free verse and difficult classic strophic forms, and in 1937, Fabius Find. He was twice awarded the prestigious Louis Lamed Prize: in 1947 for A Yid afn Yam (A Jew at Sea), a collection of Holocaust poems, and in 1957 for Baym Fus poems published in Lider fun Gan-Eydn (Poems from Paradise; 1937-40). Not surprisingly, due to his own suffering, both political and heaithwise, he developed a profound empathy and social conscience and was acclaimed as the voice of conscience in Yiddish literature. His very popular play The Goylem (The Golem; 1921) and the dramatic poem Di Geuk Komedie (The Redemption Comedy; 1934) explore the messianic motif in Jewish history.
In 1936 he joined the staff of the newspaper Der Tog and from 1936-52 he and J. Opatoshu issued eight literary anthologies Zamlbikher. He responded prolificly to the Holocaust, almost as if he himself were there. His Holocaust-related works include the poetry volume In Treblinke Bin Ikh nit Geven (I Wasn’t in Treblinka; 1945), the dramatic poem Di Khasene in Fernvald (The Wedding in Fernwald; 1.949), and Mit der Sheyres-Hapleyte (With Holocaust Survivors; 1947), an account of his visit to the DP camps in Europe. His volume A Blat afan EpWoym (A Leaf on an Appletree; 1955) gives expression to his love of Israel.

A two volume edition of Leivick’s works, Verkfun H. Leyvik, including poetry and dramatic poems was published in 1940. He was the recipient of many literary awards including the L. Lamed Award in 1945 and 1955 and an honorary medal from the National Welfare Board in 1960 as the greatest Yiddish poet and playwright of his day.

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