BURNT PEARLS: Ghetto Poems.
(Oakville, Ontario): Mosaic Press / Valley Editions, (1981). First Canadian edition and the first and only English-language edition. Translated from the Yiddish by Seymour Mayne. Introduction by Ruth R. Wisse. Frontis sketch of the author by Susan Katz. This copy INSCRIBED BY THE TRANSLATOR, "For Howard Schwartz, under the wings of the muse, Seymour Mayne, Chanukah 5742." Abraham Sutzkever (1913-2010) was awarded the Israel Prize for Yiddish literature in 1985 and his poems have been translated into 30 languages. In 1984, Arthur A. Cohen, writing for The New York Times proclaimed him "the greatest poet of the Holocaust." In 1941, Sutzkever and his wife, Freydke, were sent to the Vilna Ghetto where they were ordered by the Nazis to hand over important Jewish manuscripts and artworks. Sutzkever and his friends hid a diary by Theodor Herzl, drawings by Marc Chagall and Alexander Bogen, and other treasured works behind plaster and brick walls in the ghetto. His mother and newborn son were subsequently murdered by the Nazis. Sutzkever and his wife later escaped, and he fought the occupying forces as a partisan. In July 1943, Sutzkever gave a fellow partisan a notebook of his poems, which reached the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in Moscow, where he later fled the war. According to Wisse, Sutzkever "was one of a tiny percentage of creative artists who lived through and survived the devastation [of WWII].....The works of those years, written not in retrospect, and not at a distance, but during the daily wretchedness of ghetto life and under constant threat of death, constitute an exceptional instance in the history of art." Gray paperwraps printed in black and pink. Near fine. Although not indicated as such in the book, this copy is from the collection of poet, short story writer, and Faulkner scholar Louis Daniel Brodsky. "The greatest poet of the Holocaust"