Friday 29 March 2019


Y. KISIN (I. KISSIN) (August 5, 1886-July 25, 1950)
            He was born Yekusiel Garnitski in Grodno.[1]  He published fiction, essays, and translations.  His father was a preacher.  In 1892 he moved with his parents to Kovno.  He attended religious elementary school and received a general education with private tutors.  He emigrated to the United States in 1904.  He published poetry, stories, essays, literary critical articles, and translations in: Literatur un leben (Literature and life), Tog (Day), Tsukunft (Future), Di naye velt (The new world), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Der inzel (The island), Der veker (The alarm), Forverts (Forward) for which he was a regular contributor for twenty-five years, Nay-idish (New Yiddish), and Der obhoyb (The beginning), among others.  His poems also appeared in: B. Vladek, Fun der tifenish fun hartsn, a bukh fun laydn un kamf (From the depths of the heart, a book of suffering and struggle) (New York: Miler and Hillman, 1917); Mani Leyb, Nyu-york in ferzn (New York in verse) (New York: Inzel, 1918); Zishe Landau, Antologye, di yidishe dikhtung in amerike biz yor 1919 (Anthology, Yiddish poetry in America until 1919) (New York: Idish, 1919); Nakhmen Mayzil, Amerike in yidishn vort (America in the Yiddish word) (New York, 1955); and Shimshon Meltser, Al naharot, tisha maḥazore shira misifrut yidish (By the rivers, nine cycles of poetry from Yiddish literature) (Jerusalem, 1956).  Longer works were published in: Di naye velt (May-June 1920), on the Yiddish Introspectivists; Tsukunft 4 (1922), on Borekh Glazman; and Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), which he also co-edited, on Elyokem Tsunzer and Lithuania in poetry and prose; among others.  His other works include: Edgar elen po, ophandlung (Edgar Allan Poe, treatment) (New York, 1919), 44 pp.; Gezamelte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York, 1922), 295 pp.; Lider fun der milkhome, antologye (Poetry from the war, anthology) (New York: Biblyotek fun poezye un eseyen, 1943), 240 pp., a collection of poems by over 200 poets from various countries, many of them translated by Kisin himself; Lid un esey (Poem and essay) (New York, 1953), 320 pp.  His translations include: Edward Stilgebauer, Der gehenem (Inferno [original: Inferno, Roman aus dem Weltkrieg (Inferno, a novel of the world war)]) (New York: Naye velt, 1918), 298 pp.; Meïr Goldschmidt, Der id (The Jew [original: En Jøde]) (New York: Naye velt, 1919), 344 pp.; Mikhail Tugan-Baronovsky, Sotsyalistishe kolonyen (Socialist colonies) (New York: Jewish Socialist Federation of America, 1919), 80 pp.—the above three translations in his original name of Y. Garnitski; Edgar Allan Poe, Oysgevehlte verk (Selected works), vol. 2 (New York: Yidish, 1920)—vol. 1 translated by Leon Elbe; Peter Kropotkin, Gezamelte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York: Kropotkin Literature Society, 1922), 295 pp.; and Der veg tsu frayhayt (The road to freedom), a series of translations published in various newspapers and anthologies—from Maxim Gorky, Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Heinrich Heine, Omar Khayyam, and others.  “Kisin,” noted A. Tabatshnik, “is the poet of reflective and intellectual lyricism….  [His essays are often] competent, instructive, and well-written pieces of work.”  He died in Dayton, Ohio.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Talush, Yidishe shrayber (Yiddish writers) (New York, 1953), pp. 198-205; Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), pp. 1015-19; Ruvn Ayzland, Fun undzer friling (From our spring) (Miami Beach and New York, 1954), pp. 173-75; A. Tabatshnik, in Tsukunft (New York) 5 (1954); D. Shub, Fun di amolike yorn (From years gone by), vol.2 (New York, 1970), pp. 644-46; Yankev Glatshteyn, Prost un poshet, literarishe eseyen (Plain and simple, literary essays) (New York, 1978); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen

[1] Zalmen Reyzen erroneously states that it was Kovno.

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