Rosenmann-Taub, David

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ROSENMANN-TAUB, DAVID (1927– ), Chilean poet, musician, and artist. Rosenmann-Taub's parents emigrated from Poland to South America in the early 1900s. From earliest childhood, he evinced gifts for both literature and music that were fostered by his parents. His mother began teaching him piano when he was two, and by nine he was giving lessons himself. From the age of seven, he had been sure of his vocation as a poet and had started to write daily. In his teens, he wrote El Adolescente (which would become his first published work), and began Cortejo y epinicio, the book that first made his name and in which such poems as "Schabat" and "Elegía y Kadisch" drew on his Jewish background.

He read broadly and thoroughly, acquiring the erudition that has always informed his poetry–especially the knowledge of physics that he considers fundamental to his work. He continued his musical education, studying piano and composition. In 1948 he graduated from the University of Chile with the title of professor of Spanish.

The next year, when he was 22, Cortejo y epinicio came out to wide acclaim, with a reputation-making review from the preeminent literary critic of Chile, Hernán Díaz Arrieta.

In the three decades that followed, Rosenmann-Taub published more than 10 volumes of poetry in Chile and Argentina, including Los Surcos inundados ("The Flooded Furrows"), for which he received the Premio Municipal de Poesía, one of Chile's highest literary honors. His poetry was admired by various critics and authors, among them Witold Gombrowicz, Victoria Ocampo, and Francis de Miomandre.

While working full time as a private tutor, he wrote each night into the small hours. In the first half of the 1970s, he suffered major blows: his parents' deaths; the theft of more than 5,000 pages of his poetry in manuscript; and the rise of a murderous dictatorship in Chile. During the latter half of the decade, he traveled on a grant in South America and Europe and gave lectures in New York City.

In 1985, he settled in the United States, embarking on a period of prodigious artistic activity. While producing hundreds of new poems and revising past work, he also assembled the drawings done over a lifetime, and continued to make music. Such compositions as Abecechedario ("Alphabet") and Orbe ("Orb") contain up to six different, precisely interlocking piano parts, played by the composer himself.

Given the fact that Rosenmann-Taub devoted every moment to his work, and none to self-promotion, it was not surprising that for many years his reputation lagged behind his achievement. In 2000, however, lom Ediciones, in Chile, undertook to progressively issue all of Rosenmann-Taub's poetry. Since 2002, four books have been published: a new edition of Cortejo y epincio; El Mensajero ("The Messenger"); El Cielo en la fuente/La Mañana eterna ("The Sky in the fountain/the Eternal morning"); and País más allá ("Country beyond").

Rosenmann-Taub's poems have appeared in a number of Jewish anthologies, including Voices within the Ark: The Modern Jewish Poets, Jüdische Literatur Lateinamerika, and El Gran libro de América Judía.

[Fred Rosenbaum (2nd ed.)]

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Rosenmann-Taub, David

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