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Greenberg, Eliezer

GREENBERG, ELIEZER

GREENBERG, ELIEZER (1896–1977), Yiddish poet and literary critic. Born in Bessarabia, at an early age he was influenced by the poets Eliezer *Steinbarg, Jacob *Sternberg, and Moshe *Altman, who were pioneers of Hebrew and Yiddish literature, and, later, by American English modernist poetry. In 1913, at the age of 17, Greenberg immigrated to the U.S., but impressions of his native town enriched his poetry throughout his life. His lyrics and essays began to appear in Yiddish periodicals and anthologies in 1919. He studied at the University of Michigan, before settling in New York. Together with Elihu Shulman, he edited Getseltn ("Tents," 1945–48), a periodical of verse and literary criticism. He and Irving *Howe edited important anthologies of translations from Yiddish into English: A Treasury of Yiddish Stories (1954), Five Yiddish Poets (1962), A Treasury of Yiddish Poetry (1969), Voices From the Yiddish (1972), Yiddish Stories Old and New (1974), Selected Stories of I.L. Peretz (1974), and Ashes Out of Hope (1977). His first volume of poetry, Gasn un Evenyus ("Streets and Avenues," 1928), portrays New York as the symbol of the modern ambition. It was followed by Fun Umetum ("From Everywhere," 1934), Fisherdorf ("Fishing Village," 1938), Di Lange Nakht ("The Long Night," 1946), "Baynakhtiker Dialog" ("Night Dialogue"), Eybiker Dorsht ("Eternal Thirst," 1968), and Gedenkshaft ("Memorabilia," 1974). The depression of the 1930s led to a more social proletarian tone in his poems. In the 1940s his verses became angrier and more despairing in response to unfolding events in Europe, later returning to calmer tones. As a critic, Greenberg wrote primarily about modernist Yiddish poets, including studies of Moyshe-Leyb *Halpern, H. *Leivick, and Jacob *Glatstein.

bibliography:

lnyl, 2 (1958), 391–2; J. Glatstein, In Tokh Genumen (1956), 323–8; S. Bickel Shrayber fun Mayn Dor (1958), 144–7; S.D. Singer, Dikhter un Prozaiker (1959), 109–12. add. bibliography: "A Greenberg Portfolio," in: Yiddish, 3 (1978), 48–53.

[Sol Liptzin /

Anita Norich (2nd ed.)]

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