Friday 24 May 2019


MATVEY ROMM (b. ca. 1858)
            A poet, he was born in Vilna.  He was a descendant of the well-known Romm publishing family in Vilna.  He was orphaned at age two.  He wandered a great deal, living in Moscow, London, and New York, but further details remain unknown, even concerning his death.  He began publishing Russian-language poetry in 1893, and the following year Yiddish poetry in the New York press.  He was the author (using the pen name Matmor) of Dos leben, gedikhte un lieder (The life, poetry) (Vilna: Widow and Brothers Romm, 1903), 66 pp.  The motifs in his poems were mostly love, joy, suffering, and vanities of vanities.  Nokhum-Borekh Minkov includes him among the pioneers of Yiddish poetry in America and writes: “Matvey Romm was among the rare two or three poets who took up individualistic poems….  They were melodic, full of feeling and authentic….  [He was a] precursor of ‘Di yunge’ [The young ones].”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Nokhum-Borekh Minkov, Pyonern fun der yidisher poezye in amerike, dos sotsyale lid (Pioneers of Yiddish poetry in America, the social poem) (New York, 1956), pp. 83-116; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen

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