M. A. SUL (YURI SUHL) (July 30, 1908-November 8, 1986)
He was born in Podhaytse (Polish, Podhajce; Ukrainian, Pidhaitsi), Galicia. He studied in religious elementary school and in a Polish elementary school. In 1923 he came to the United States and worked in a variety of trades. In 1927 he began to study at night at an English-language middle school and was poetry editor of the school magazine, in which he published his own poetry in English. After completing middle school, he attended courses at City College and studied for a year at New York University. In 1928 he debuted in print with Yiddish poems in Der amerikaner (The American) in New York. In 1931 he began publishing poems in Frayhayt (Freedom), later as well in the monthly Der hamer (The hammer), both organs of the left in New York. For a number of years thereafter, he worked as a teacher in the Yiddish children’s schools run by the leftist International Labor Order. In 1932 he became secretary to the editorial board of Signal (Signal), a journal of “Proletpen” (Proletarian pen). He served in the American army during WWII. In 1948 he was a delegate of American leftist organizations to the cultural conference in Warsaw. He traveled as a delegate in 1963 to Poland for the twentieth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Sul was the youngest of the group known as the “proletarian poets.” He was lyrical, musical, and imagist even in his political poems and revolutionary posters. He displayed a gift as well for stories for children. A considerable number of items for children were published in Yungvarg (Youth), a journal of the leftist International Labor Order schools. Seven of his stories were included in his book Der alter fun lampaduni (The old man from Lampaduni). Under the name Yuri Suhl, he also published poetry and several volumes of prose which were originally written in English. One of his English books was autobiographical. Another was an artistic biography of Ernestine Rose. Sul was editor of the English-language Jewish magazine Jewish Currents. In book form (in Yiddish): Dos likht af mayn gas (The light on my street), drawings by L. Bunin (New York: Signal, 1935), 75 pp.; Dem tog antkegn (Toward the day) (New York: Signal, 1938), 62 pp.; Yisroel partisan, poeme (Israel, the partisan, a poem) (New York: Signal, 1942), 107 pp.; Der alter fun lampaduni (Wrocław: Nidershlezye, 1948), 58 pp., a collection of children’s stories with illustrations by William Proper; A vort fun treyst, lider (A word of consolation, poems) (Mexico City: IKUF, 1952), 97 pp. In English: One Foot in America (New York: Macmillan, 1951), 260 pp.; Ernestine L. Rose and the Battle for Human Rights (New York: Reynal and Co., 1959), 310 pp. He died in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.
Sources: Amerike in yidishn vort (America in the Yiddish word) (New York, 1955), see index; Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962); M. Birnboym, in Zamlungen (New York) 5 (January-March 1955), pp. 117-19; Birnboym, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (March 1963); B. Grobard, in Yidish kultur (1935), p. 188; N. Zalovits, “A bukh vegn a barimter yidisher froy fun 100 yor tsurik” (A book about a famous Jewish woman of 100 years ago), Forverts (New York) (May 17, 1959); Dvoyre Tarant, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (June 5, 1949); L. Khanukov, Literarishe eseyen (Literary essays) (New York, 1960), pp. 175-80; Moyshe Kats, in Morgn-frayhayt (November 10, 1935); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (March 15, 1936); Niger, in Di tsukunft (New York) (January 1939); D. Sfard, in Folks-shtime (Lodz) (May 21, 1948); Al. Pomerants, in Signal (New York) (February-March 1936); B. Fenster, in Morgn-frayhayt (July 11, 1932); Y. Kisin, Lider fun der milkhome (Poems from the war), an anthology (New York, 1943); Moyshe Shtarkman, Hamshekh-antologye (Hamshekh anthology) (New York, 1945), pp. 327-32; Sh. Shtern, in Morgn-frayhayt (April 8, 1956); L. Grebnyov (L. Faynberg), Evreiskaia poeziya (Yiddish poetry), anthology (New York, 1947), p. 218; Joseph Leftwich, The Golden Peacock (London, 1939); Y. Ros, in New York Times Book Review (July 26, 1959).