YOYSEF-SHLOYME PRENOVITS (JOSEPH SOLOMON PRENOWITZ) (March 16, 1871-December 16, 1938)
He was born in Aleksot (Aleksotas), Kovno district, Lithuania. He studied in religious elementary school, and at age seventeen came to the United States where he worked, dealt, and frequently changed his way of making a living. In 1891 he debuted in print in Folks-advokat (People’s advocate), and in 1895 he settled in Philadelphia and published poems and later prose as well in the local Yiddish press, as well as in: Arbeter fraynd (Friend of labor) in London; and Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Abend blat (Evening newspaper), Yunyon-tsaytung (Union newspaper), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Tsukunft (Future), Forverts (Forward), Tsayt-gayst (Spirit of the times), and Gerekhtikeyt (Justice) in New York. Aside from revolutionary and social poems, he also published love poetry and nature poetry. He also wrote under the pseudonyms: Hamlet and Georg Ratner. He translated poetry by Heine and Goethe and by English poets as well. He was active in the Socialist Party, the Workmen’s Circle, the United Hebrew Trades, and other organizations. From 1905 he was regular contributor to Forverts. In addition to poetry and articles, he published there prose pieces, humorous items, descriptions of city life, and newspaper novels. In 1935 he was editor of the theater page. For a series of years he was in charge of the Forverts division in Philadelphia. In book form: Gedikhte (Poetry) (Philadelphia: Ozer broders, 1910), 192 pp.; Gedikhte (Philadelphia, 1921), 260 pp., published on his fiftieth birthday; Fun lebn (From life) (Philadelphia, 1921), 300 pp. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 3 (New York, 1959); Elye (Elias) Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1943), pp. 169-72; N. B. Minkov, Pyonern fun der yidisher poezye in amerike, dos sotsyale lid (Pioneers of Yiddish poetry in America, the social poem), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), pp. 53-102; Arbeter-ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle), ed. Y. Yeshurin and Y. Sh. Herts (New York, 1962), pp. 303-4; D. B. Tirkel, “Biblyografye fun der yidisher prese in filadelfye, 1891-1928” (Bibliography of the Yiddish press in Philadelphia, 1891-1928), Pinkes (American division of YIVO) (New York, 1927/1928), p. 260.
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