from Elephants by Night - poems of Africa
By Abraham Sutzkever
2005. Edition of 90.

9 x 12" with 36 pages, numbered and signed by the translator and the artist. A full-color frontispiece on Fabriano Uno. Poetry in English typeset in Palatino by Spring Salvin. Letterpress printed by Bradley Hutchinson. Drawings printed duotone lithography by Omega. Housed in clamshell box in full cloth Canapetta with silver stamping.

A new publication from Haybarn Press in honor of the 92nd birthday of Abraham Sutzkever, the foremost living Yiddish poet. The portfolio of eighteen poems were translated by Melvin Konner and include seven drawings by Ed Colker.

From the introduction, Translator's note: "These translations try to convey a unique group of poems by one of the greatest modern poets. That they evoke so thoroughly the magic, poignancy, tragedy, nobility and strangeness of Africa is achievement enough. That they do it in Yiddish – with its ironic, diffident stance, and its, well, Jewishness – is astonishing.

Yet here they are, composed by a man who was already strong in his art in the pre-war heyday of Jewish Europe; whose mother, baby, family, and friends were murdered by Nazis; who joined the partisans and gallantly fought back; who, from those savage events, made lasting poetry; afloat in a sea of Hebrew; who traveled throughout Africa as one of Israel's emissaries, opening himself to its sources of life, risk, creativity and death; and who turned the experience into words that brilliantly refracted African light through Jewish prisms."

The poet, hunchbacked, is the loneliest of all
Creatures in the world.
His voice is in a jungle.
His prayer cannot take its measure
With the lion, struck dumb;
His childhood seems to him like the ragged antelope
In the wilderness ... outside ...
Who to love?
Though the lamp burns.
Its wick - a little cobra
Spits fire.
(from Termites)

$310 (Seven copies remaining)