LEYZER GRINBERG (ELIEZER GREENBERG) (December 13, 1896-June 2, 1977)
He was born in Lipkon (Lipcani), Bessarabia, to well-off parents. He studied in religious primary school and with the well-known follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and teacher Itsik Shkolnik. He also studied secular subjects. Among those teachers who also influenced his poetic writings were his fellow townsmen and writers: Eliezer Shteynbarg, Yankev Shternberg, and Moyshe Altman. In 1913 he emigrated to the United States, initially living in Boston and later in Brockton. He was employed in a leather workshop. In 1921 he studied at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was also a teacher in the Jewish schools. In 1927 he settled in New York. His first publication appeared in Kundes (Prankster), edited by Y. Marinov, in 1919, and in the organ of the socialist federation, Di naye velt (The new world), edited by Salutski, Tsviun, and, Olgin. From that time forward, he published songs, poems, and essays in: Studyo (Studio), Signal (Signal), Frayhayt (Freedom), Hamer (Hammer), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Oyfkum (Arise), Dos vort (The word), Hemshekh (Continuation), Tsukunft (Future), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), Shoybn (Panes of glass), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), and Inzikh (Introspective)—all in New York; Eygns un fremds (One’s own and others’), edited by Yoysef Cheskis in Boston; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; Di vokh (The week) and Getseltn (Tents), 1945-1948, of which he (together with Elyahu Shulman) was editor. He contributed a number of poems to Hemshekh-antologye (Hemshekh anthology), edited by M. Shtarkman (New York, 1945). Among his books: Gasn un evenyus (Streets and avenues), poetry (New York, 1928), 93 pp.; Fun umetum (From somewhere) (New York, 1934), 92 pp.; Fisher-dorf (Fishing village), poem (New York, 1938), 32 pp.; Moyshe leyb halpern in rom fun zayn dor (Moyshe Leyb Halpern in the frame of his generation), essay (New York, 1942), 135 pp.; Di lange nakht (The long night) (New York, 1946), 127 pp.; and Baynakhtiker dialog (Nighttime dialogue) (New York, 1953), 80 pp.; Tsentrale motivn un grunt-problemen in h. leyviks shafn (Central motifs and basic issues in H. Leivick’s works) (New York: CYCO, 1961), 39 pp.; Eybiker dorsht (Eternal thirst) (New York: CYCO, 1968), 101 pp.; Gedenkshaft (Remembrance) (New York, 1974), 123 pp.
He translated a number of poems by American poets. He was the vice-president of the Yiddish PEN Club (1951-1954). In 1953 he was the representative of the Yiddish PEN Club to the conference of the International PEN Club in Dublin, Ireland, at which he presented a report on Yiddish literature. In that same year he received the poetry prize from the National Jewish Book Council in America for his collection of poems Baynakhtiker dialog. Together with the American literary critic, Irving Howe, he edited an anthology of fifty-two Yiddish stories (translated into English by Jewish American writers), entitled A Treasury of Yiddish Stories (New York, 1954). He was living in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1934); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (February 20, 1935); Sh. Tenenboym, in Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz) (1936); Tenenboym, in Oyfkum (New York) (April 1936); Tenenboym, in Di shtime (Mexico) (July 18, 1953); N. B. Minkov, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1939); M. Shtarkman, ed., Hemshekh-antologye (Hemshekh anthology) (New York, 1945); Shloyme Bikl, in Tsukunft (July-August 1953); Shmuel Niger, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 7, 1952; August 2, 1953); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (December 18, 1953); Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen (In essence) (New York, 1956), pp. 323-28; A. Leyeles, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (July 27, 1953); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (May 17, 1953); Dr. Sh. Margoshes, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (September 27, 1953), English column; Y. Y. Sigal, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (July 6, 1953); E. Shulman, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (August 1, 1953); Y. Glants, in Der veg (Mexico) (June 13, 1953); Y. Freylikh, in Undzer veg (Toronto) (June 1953); M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (April 12, 1954; September 16, 1957); Ravitsh, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) 11-12 (November-December 1954); N. Shtaynberg, in Oyfsnay (New York) (Autumn 1954); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), nos. 4664, 4800, 4924, 4965; Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over 3 (New York, 1957), p. 233; B. Daymondshteyn, Eseyen (Essays) (Tohongo, 1958), pp. 19-22; Dr. Y. Shatski, in Jewish Bookland (1953); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 178.]