ABE SHTOLTSENBERG (October 1, 1905-February 28, 1941)
He was a poet, born in Gline (Glina), Galicia. He studied in religious elementary school, in a Baron Hirsch school, and in a high school in Torne (Tarnów). His father was a merchant and a kind of wedding entertainer. At age fifteen he participated with his father in a performance of Yankev Gordin’s Hertsele meyukhes (Hertsele, the aristocrat). In 1923 he made his way to New York, where he was employed in various lines of work. He debuted in print with poems in Yung-kuznye (Young furrier) in New York (October 1924), later contributing to: Der inzl (The island), Tsukunft (Future), Feder (Pen), and Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York; Yidish (Yiddish) in Vienna (1928); Tsushteyer (Contribution) (Lemberg) 3 (1929); among others. With Avrom-Ber Tabatshnik, Meyer Shtiker, and Khayim-Nosn Fisherman, he edited the journal Fayln (Arrows) in New York (1928-1931, 3 issues). He wrote poetry over some sixteen or seventeen years with major breaks. In years of great crisis, 1933-1938, he wrote virtually nothing. Right in his most creative period, he became ill with cancer, and when M. Shtiker brought him his first published book, Shtoltsenberg was already dead (in New York).
His work appeared in: Avraham Tsvi Halevy, Mehashira haidit baamerika (From the Yiddish poetry in America) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1967); Moshe Basok, Mivḥar shirat yidish (Selection of Yiddish poetry) (Tel Aviv, 1963); Shimshon Meltser, Al naharot, tisha maḥazore shira misifrut yidish (By the rivers, nine cycles of poetry from Yiddish literature) (Jerusalem, 1956); Morris Basin, Amerikaner yidishe poezye (American Yiddish poetry) (New York, 1940); Nakhmen Mayzil, Amerike in yidishn vort (America in the Yiddish word) (New York, 1955); Moyshe Shtarkman, Hamshekh-antologye (Hamshekh anthology) (New York, 1945); Charles Dobzynski, Anthologie de la poésie Yiddish, le miroir d’un people (Anthology of Yiddish poetry, the mirror of a people) (Paris: Gallimard, 1971); Joseph Leftwich, The Golden Peacock (New York, 1961); Irving Howe and Eliezer Greenberg, A Treasury of Yiddish Poetry (New York, 1969). His works include: Lider (Poetry) (New York: M. N. Mayzel, 1941), 140 pp.
“With nothing squandered, no extinguished fires,” wrote Borekh Rivkin, “Shtoltsenberg departed…. There is, however, no doubt that he possessed his own fire, his own light…folk-primitive and artistically refined. Shtoltsenberg’s poetry swings between these two scales.” “The essence of his poetry,” commented Avrom-Ber Tabatshnik, “is…the dramatic. This dramatic quality greatly serves the quality and the emotional impact of his poetry…. Although he is genetically close to a relative of the folk poet, he is still far from primitive folkishness.”
Sources: Moyshe Nadir, Tint un feder (Ink and pen) (New York: Idbyuro, 1936), pp. 59-64; Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Nakhmen Mayzil, in Yidishe kultur (New York) 2-3 (1941); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (May 3, 1941); Mendl Naygreshl, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (Rosh Hashanah, 1951); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Tsukunft (New York) 2 (1953); Zishe Vaynper, Shrayber un kinstler (Writer and artist) (New York, 1958), pp. 266-70; Borekh Rivkin, Yidishe dikhter in amerike (Yiddish poets in America), vol. 2 (New York: Tsisho, 1959), pp. 279-89; Avrom-Ber Tabatshnik, Dikhter un dikhtung (Poets and poetry) (New York, 1965), pp. 294-338.
Dr, Eugene Orenstein