BERNARD LOUIS (LEYZER MISHKIN) (1889-July 19, 1925)
He was born in the village of Zhetkovitsh (Zhytkavichy), not far from Slonim, Byelorussia, to a father who was a village Jew. He studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva, and he later graduated from an artisan’s school in Slonim. In 1905 he joined the revolutionary movement in Odessa, and during the pogrom there he was active in Jewish self-defense. In 1906 he made his way to the United States and worked as a typesetter in New York. His first publication was a poem in 1919, in the English-language magazine Pagan. That same year he began publishing poetry in Yiddish, first in Feder (Pen) and later in the monthly journal Poezye (Poetry) and in Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor)—both in New York. In 1920 he was among the initiators of the introspectivist group of poets, and he co-edited the magazine of the group: Inzikh (Introspective). He traveled from city to city in America and Canada. The last two years of his life, he spent in the sanitarium for those with lung ailments in Colorado. He died in Colorado Springs. His friends later published a small collection of his poems under the title Flamtalin (New York, 1927), 60 pp. “His poetic activities were cut short,” noted N. B. Minkov, “…but the thirty-five poems that he left describe for us an original poet, an intelligent man ‘ripped’ from us, and his environment.”
Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (August 1933); A. Leyeles, in Inzikh (New York) 54 (April 1940); N. B. Minkov, Literarishe vegn (Literary paths) (Mexico City, 1955), 265-305; N. Mayzil, Amerike in yidishn vort (America in Yiddish) (New York, 1955), see index; Mikhl Likht, Af di randn (At the margins) (Buenos Aires, 1956), pp. 49-51.