Wednesday 13 May 2015


NOYEKH-YITSKHOK GOTLIB (October 5, 1903-July 31, 1967)
            He was the older brother of the late poet and critic Yankev Gotlib.  He was born in Kovno and studied in religious primary schools and yeshivas.  During the years of WWI, he roamed through Russia.  In 1924 he graduated from a Soviet Jewish teachers’ seminary in Minsk.  He emigrated to Canada in 1930.  He began writing in 1925 in the Kovno Hebrew-language monthly Had lita (Echo of Lithuania).  From that point forward, he published poems, stories, and literary essays in: Gekholuts (Pioneer) in Moscow; Di yidishe shtime (The Jewish voice), Unzer veg (Our way), Folksblat (People’s newspaper), Di tsayt (The times), Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm), Shlyakhn (Rough roads), Mir aleyn (We alone), and Ringen (Links) in Kovno; Di vokh (The week) and Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; Tog (Day), Tsukunft (Future), Oyfkum (Arise), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Lite (Lithuania), and Der litvisher yid (The Lithuanian Jew), among others, in New York; Der yidisher kuryer (The Jewish courier) in Chicago; Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia; Dorem-afrike (South Africa) in Johannesburg; and Dos idishe vort (The Jewish word) in Winnipeg.  For over twenty-four years, he was a regular contributor to Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal.  Among his books: Bloye gnod (Blue mercy), poems (Kovno, 1927), 48 pp.; Gang (Pace), poems (Kovno, 1929), 96 pp.; Zeglen in zun (Sails in the sun), poems (Montreal, 1932), 200 pp.; Iberboy (Rebuilding), a novella (Montreal, 1940), 170 pp.; Naye lider (New poems) (Montreal, 1943), 148 pp.; Sovetishe shrayber (Soviet writers), informative articles (Montreal, 1945), 160 pp.; Khalutsim (Pioneers), poetry (Montreal, 1948), 300 pp.; A mentsh in di himlen (A man in the heavens), poems (Montreal, 1950), 320 pp.; Dray poems (Three poems) (Montreal, 1955), 203 pp.  He also co-edited the anthology Mir aleyn (Kovno, 1930); and twelve monthly volumes of Montreol (Montreal), 1933-1935, as well as the quarterly Heftn (Notebooks) (Montreal, 1936-1937).  In Lithuania, he managed “Heḥaluts” (Pioneers), and he was for many years a member of the Poale-Tsiyon Party.  He lived in Montreal, Canada, where from 1950 he was secretary of the Jewish Writers’ Association.  Gotlib’s poetry excelled with rich language and always with thoroughly consistent rhythm, lyrically sad in mood.  Autumn dominated in his nature poetry—ephemera in his philosophical poetry.  His longer poems were autobiographical, as well as biographical—concerning national Jewish heroes.  His literary essays were always noteworthy for possessing a heavy dose of information.  He also composed short stories on the ways of life of ordinary Jewish people in Canada.  In 1958 his volume of poems appeared: Mayn land mayn lidershe (My country my poetry) (Montreal), 226 pp.  Other later works include: Eyder es vert nakht (Before nightfall), poems (Montreal, 1962), 217 pp.; Zekhtsik (Sixty) (Montreal, 1965), 267 pp.  Poems and critical articles concerning Gotlib appeared in Montreol (Montreal) (1968), 224 pp.

Sources: Y. Y. Sigal, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (Sugust 3, 1930); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Tog (New York) (March 1, 1941); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (April 5, 1941); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (June 25, 1941); M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (August 20, 1945); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (June 4, 1948 and December 1952); Glatshteyn, in Keneder odler (February 2, 1955); M. Dvorzhetski, in Dos vort (Mexico) (December 1, 1948); D. Volpe, in Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (February 1953); B. G. Zak, in Keneder odler (March 4, 1955); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen bibliography) (New York, 1956), nos. 5150, 5195, 5382.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 124.]

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