BENYOMEN FINKEL (ca. 1890-1970)
He was born in Warsaw, Poland. He studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study hall. In 1908 he came to the United States. He debuted in print with a humorous sketch in Varhayt (Truth) in 1911. From that point he excelled as an innovative lyrical poet, storyteller, and humorist. He placed work in: Varhayt, Haynt (Today), and Unzer bukh (Our book) (1922-1928) in New York. He worked as a journalist in Chicago, and later was a close contributor back in New York of Louis Miller. For many years he wrote for Forverts (Forward), where aside from journalistic work he also published hundreds of features, humorous pieces, sketches, and impressions. In them he demonstrated the linguistic capacity of Yiddish in general and a distinctive virtuosity in American Yiddish. He published his humorous writings under the pen names Yoysef Marshalek and Big Ben. Selections from his poems are included in anthologies of Yiddish poetry. His poetry excelled in its originality and perfection. Some appears in Anna Margolin’s Dos yidishe lid in amerike, 1923, antologye (The Yiddish poem in America, 1923, anthology) (New York, 1923). He died in New York City.
Sources: Unzer bukh (New York) 3 (1926); N. Mayzil, Tsurikblikn un perspektivn (Retrospectives and perspectives) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962), p. 370.
Khayim Leyb Fuks