Brody, Alter

views updated


BRODY, ALTER (1895–1979), U.S. poet. Born in Pruzhany, Belarus, in Czarist Russia, Brody immigrated to New York City in 1903 and grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side. In his first book, A Family Album and Other Poems (1918), Brody contrasted his childhood in Europe with the harsh realities of the New World, and interpreted industrial history against a background of ancient dreams. Indeed, according to Louis Untermeyer's appreciative introduction, Brody presented young America seen through the eyes of old Russia. This volume contains his most famous poem "Kartushkiya-Beroza," as well as poems with American themes such as "Times Square," "A Family Album," and "The Neurological Institute."

Brody's next literary volume was Lamentations: Four Folk-Plays of the American Jew (1928). The New York Times reviewer saw "… a powerful crescendo movement in each piece which carries the reader through to the end; a cumulative effectiveness, but an effectiveness of argument rather than dramatic effectiveness."

Alter Brody's other books were concerned with the political situation in Eastern Europe on the eve of World War ii. The three titles, The U.S.S.R. and Finland (1939), War and Peace in Finland (1940), and Behind the Polish-Soviet Break (1943) were all published in New York by Soviet Russia Today, a Soviet government agency. Brody attempted to explain the outbreak of war in a Soviet light, stressing the plight of Polish Jewry from 1939 to 1942.

[Mark Padnos (2nd ed.)]