Monday 31 October 2016


MEYER-ZIML TKATSH (December 1894-1986)
            He was born in the village of Priborsk, Kiev district, Ukraine, to a father who worked as an itinerant teacher.  He studied in religious elementary school, later on his own becoming a village teacher and at the same time turning his attention to self-study.  In 1913 he moved to the United States and worked there as a painter.  He began publishing Russian-language poetry in Russkoe slovo (The Russian word) and Novyi mir (New world) in New York in 1914, later switching to Yiddish.  He published poems and fables in: Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Der kundes (The prankster), Di naye velt (The new world), Nay yidish (New Yiddish), Oyfkum (Arise), Signal (Signal), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), Tsukunft (Future), Studyo (Studio), Frayhayt (Freedom), Tog (Day), Forverts (Forward), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Unzer veg (Our way), Getseltn (Tents), Vayter (Further), Zayn (To be), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), and Kinder-tsaytung (Children’s newspaper)—in New York; Indritses yontef bleter (Indritse’s holiday sheets), and Shikago (Chicago) in Chicago; Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; Goldene keyt (Golden chain) and Dos vort (The word) in Tel Aviv; Kiem (Existence) and Far unzere kinder (For our children) in Paris; Der veg (The way) in Mexico City; and Argentiner beymelekh (Little Argentinian trees) in Buenos Aires; among others.  His books include: Af gots barot, lider un fablen (In God’s care, poems and fables) (New York, 1927), 160 pp.; Dos taykhl katshet zikh afn baykhl, lider un fablen far kleyn un groys (The stream flows on its belly, poems and fables for young and old) (Chicago, 1933), 64 pp.; Zun iber alts, lider (Sun over everything, poems) (Chicago, 1936), 112 pp.; In shotn fun dir, lider 1939 (In your shadow, poems 1939) (Chicago, 1939), 64 pp.; Noyekhs kastn, mesholim un mayselekh (Noah’s crate, proverbs and tales) (Chicago, 1942), 112 pp.; Blut shrayt fun der erd, lider (Blood cries from the earth, poems) (New York, 1946), 64 pp.; Fun dor tsu dor, mayses, agadetes un lider (From generation to generation, stories, homiletical tales, and poetry) (New York, 1947), 96 pp.; Dorsht tsum kval, lider (Toward the source, poems) (New York, 1952), 160 pp.; Bleterfal, lider (Falling leaves, poems) (New York, 1960), 96 pp.; Mayn hob un gob, gezamlte ferzn (My possession and gift, collected verse) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962-1963), 2 vols. (vol. 2 with a bibliography by Y. Yeshurin); Elterfrukht fun yugnttsvit (Late fruit from early blossoms) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1971), 71 pp.; Mayn antologye fun der rusisher poezye (My anthology of Russian poetry) (Tel Aviv, 1973), 128 pp.; Eygns un fremds (One’s own and another’s) (New York, 1977), 63 pp.  Tkatsh’s poetry was included in the following anthologies: Midvest-mayrev (Midwest-West) (Chicago, 1933); I. Kissin’s Lider fun der milkhome, antologye (Poems from the war, anthology) (New York, 1943); L. Faynberg’s Evreiskaya poeziya, antologiya (Yiddish poetry, anthology) (New York, 1947); Naye yidishe dikhtung (New Yiddish poetry) (Iași, Romania 1947); Al naharot yerushalaim (By the rivers of Jerusalem) (1955/1956).  In April 1961 he left on a trip to the state of Israel.  “Tkatsh is very careful about language,” wrote Yankev Glatshteyn.  “We see in him an inclination to create softness from what is hard, something difficult to say….  He loves to put the moral or interpretation of a poem in the final lines.  In this regard he closely resembles Avrom Reyzen.  The simplicity of his poems often creates the impression of new Reyzen-like motifs, newer in language and more alive in the end, but Reyzen-like in tone.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Y. Glants, in Meksikaner shtime (Mexico City) (July 26, 1933); B. Tutshinski, in Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz) (December 24, 1934; March 26, 1936); Dr. L. Zhitnitski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (December 13, 1939); Yankev Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen (In essence) (New York, 1947), pp. 266-72; Glatshteyn, in Yidisher kemfer (New York) (June 10, 1960); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (July 14, 1947); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1949); Y. Bronshteyn, Unter eyn dakh (Under one roof) (Los Angeles, 1956); P. Shteynvaks, in Der amerikaner (New York) (July 15, 1960); Yosl Kohn, Bayn rand fun obhoyb (On the edge of beginning) (New York, 1960); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (May 29, 1960); M. Tshemni, in Blitsn (Ramat-Gan) 4 (July 1960); Professor Sol Liptsin, in Jewish Bookland (New York) (December 1960); M. Daytsh, in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1961); Y. Kh. Biletski, in Yisroel-shtime (Tel Aviv) (July 27, 1961)
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 286-87.]

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