Molodowsky, Kadia 1894-1975
MOLODOWSKY, Kadia 1894-1975
Born 1894, in Poland; immigrated to United States, 1935; died 1975; married 1921-74. Education: Trained as a kindergarten teacher. Religion: Jewish.
Poet. Former kindergarten teacher.
National Jewish Book Award, 1966.
Afn Barg, "Yungvarg" Bibliotek bam Kooperativn Folks-Farlag fun Internatsyonaln Arbeter Ordn (New York, NY), 1938.
Yidishe Kinder, Tsentral-komitet fun di Yidishe folks-shuln in di Fareynikte Shtatn un Kanade (New York, NY), 1945.
A Shtub mit Zibn Fentater (title means "A House with Seven Windows"), Matone's (New York, NY), 1957.
Lider fun Hurbn: 700-705, Y. L. Perets (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1962.
Likht fun Dornboym: Lider, Kiem (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1965.
Shire Yerushalavim, Ha-Kibuts ha-me'uhad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1971.
Notsot Zahavj Sipurim Ba-harusim, Sifriyat po'alim (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1978.
Im Niv Li Munah: Shirim, Targume Shin Reshimot, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1982.
Paper Bridges: Selected Poems of Kadya Molodowsky, translated, edited, and introduced by Kathryn Hellerstein, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
One of the early Yiddish poets, Kadia Molodowsky actually began as a kindergarten teacher, writing children's stories and occasionally poetry for her students. When she was "discovered" by a group of Yiddish writers in Kiev in 1920, she decided to take on poetry as a full-time avocation. Yiddish poetry was still new enough that she developed her own standards and set about revising her work to meet them. Much of her work is only available in Yiddish, but in 1999 Kathryn Hellerstein translated and published a collection of Molodowsky's poems as Paper Bridges: Selected Poems of Kadya Molodowsky.
Reviewing Paper Bridges in the New Republic, Hillel Halkin wrote, "one finds in her verse the sometimes whimsical and sometimes melancholy suggestion that she is just an ordinary woman whom life, or some power beyond life, has seduced into a career of poetry." Whimsy and melancholy alternate throughout her long poetic career. From grimly urging God to "choose another people" in the wake of news of the Holocaust, to zany children's verse, all aspects of Molodowsky's varied poetry appear in Paper Bridges. "Her broad poetic range encompasses folkloric evocations, biblical allusions, realistic depictions of Shtetl life and immigrant experiences, and children's tales—all witnessed and rendered by a distinctive female sensibility," wrote a reviewer for Choice.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, January, 2000, M. Butovsky, review of Paper Bridges, p. 927.
New Republic, October 18, 1999, Hillel Halkin, "Angels Arrive," p. 38.*