Emiot, Israel

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EMIOT, ISRAEL (pseudonym of I. Goldwasser ; 1909–1978), Yiddish poet. Influenced by the Warsaw Jewish Writers' Club, Emiot moved in the years 1932–36 from ḥasidic to worldly themes and published several collections containing ballads on Jewish history, pastoral lyrics, and innovative triolets that reflect the somber interwar mood (Mit Zikh Aleyn, "Alonewith Self"; Tropen in Yam, "Drops in the Ocean"; Bay Zayt, "Beside Me"; Iber Makhitses, "Over Partitions"). In 1939 he fled to Russia, where Lider ("Songs," 1940) contained lamentations about family, homeland, and war. While he was a correspondent in Birobidzhan (1944–8), he published Oyfgang ("Rising," 1947), with Sovietized content. When the Jewish *Anti-Fascist Committee was liquidated (1948), he was arrested and imprisoned for seven years in Siberia. Repatriated to Poland, he published Benkshaft ("Yearning," 1957), before immigrating to the U.S. (1958), where he republished and augmented his previous work during the years 1960–69: In Nign Ayngehert ("In Melody Absorbed"), Fardekte Spiglen ("Covered Mirrors"), In Mitele Yorn ("In Middle Years"), Eyder Du Leshst Mikh Oys ("Before You Extinguish Me"), and Tsulib Di Tsen Umshuldike ("For the Sake of Ten Innocents"). His prose memoir Der Birobidzhaner Inyen ("The Birobidzhan Affair," 1960) provides a dispassionate account of his Siberian experience, retained in the author's 1981 translation, while his verse translation, Siberia (1991), reveals a more anguished personal account. Emiot edited the trilingual journal Roots. His work after 1958 includes sonnets, addresses to God, free verse, lyrics of alienation and love, and reflections on the U.S. in prose and poetry. He expanded his interest in musical themes and modernist poetry, but maintained his use of traditional Jewish imagery.


lnyl, 6 (1965), 601–6; J. Glatsteyn, Mit Mayne Fartog-Bikher (1963), 523–35.

[Leah Zazulyer (2nd ed.)]