AVROM-SHLOYME SHKOLNIKOV (August or October 23, 1896-February 13, 1962)
He was a poet, born in Kheymets (Khimets), Minsk Province, into a poor family. He attended religious elementary school until age nine. Reluctant to take up a trade, he ran away from home, spent five years in Homlye (Homyel’), wandered around Russia, traveled as far as Kiev, worked in a bakery, and stayed with this trade until his death. From 1914 he was living in Montreal. He debuted in print in 1921 with poems in Nyuansn (Nuances) in Montreal and Kritik (Critic) in Vienna. He wrote poetry, stories, miniatures, and literary essays in: Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), and Vokhnshrift far literatur un kunst (Weekly writing for literature and art)—in Warsaw; Shriftn (Writings), Hamer (Hammer), Frayhayt (Freedom), Getseltn (Tents), Literarishe heftn (Literary tents), Oyfgang (Arise), Nay-idish (New Yiddish), and Zayn (To be)—in New York; Kheshbn (Accounting) in Los Angeles; Haymeish (Familiar) in Tel Aviv; and Canada’s Kamf (Struggle), Baginen (Dawn), Kanader vokhnblat (Canadian weekly newspaper), and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) for which he was a contributor for many years. He edited or co-edited: the anthology Epokhe (Epoch) with Y. Y. Sigal and E. Almi; the journal Kanade (Canada) with Yisroel Rabinovitsh, Khayim Tolmatsh, and Hirsh Hershman (3 issues); Royerd (Raw earth) (1927, 5 issues); Montreoler heftn (Montreal notebooks) with Noyekh-Yitskhok Gotlib (1930-1931, 9 issues); Montreol (Montreal) (1934, 10 issues); Heftn (Notebooks) (1937); and Kanader zhurnal (Canada journal) (1940). His work also appeared in Mortkhe Yofe’s Erets-yisroel in der yidisher literatur, antologye (Israel in Yiddish literature, anthology) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1961); Shmuel Rozhanski, Kanadish (Canadian) (Buenos Aires, 1974); and Berish Vaynshteyn, Opklayb (Selection) (New York) 4-5. He also placed work in English-language Jewish periodicals. He died in Montreal.
His works included: Far brenendiger zun, lider (Before a burning sun, poetry) (Montreal, 1921), 40 pp.; Lider (Poetry) (Montreal, 1926), 160 pp.; In likht fun tog (In light from the day), poetry (Montreal, 1939), 63 pp.
“He presents a significant measure of poetic intensity,” commented Yisroel Rabinovitsh, “but…his eye is much more strongly developed than his ear…. There is missing a musical aptitude to unite his singing visions into a playing rhythm.”
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Y. Y. Sigal, in Epokhe (Montreal) (1922); Yisroel Rabinovitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (September 2, 1927); Khanaye-Meyer Kayzerman, Yidishe dikhter in kanade (Yiddish poets in Canada) (Montreal, 1934), pp. 53-57; Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (February 19, 1962); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Khayim Leyb Fuks