Anna Elena Torres Lecture
Anna Elena Torres '07, a doctoral candidate in Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley, has worked as a translator of Yiddish, a poet, and a community muralist. Here, she presents selections from her original translations of Dvoyre Fogel's work.
Fogel's experimental poetry, written in Yiddish during the 1930s in Poland, sought to fuse modern art and poetry into a new mode that she called "white words." Striving to form a new urban lyric poetry, her writing is marked by cool lucidity, geometric ornamentation, and strong repetitive rhythms, a turn away from the Futurist dynamism popular at the time.
Fogel was born in 1902 in Burshtyn (Galicia, now Ukraine) to a secular, Polish-speaking family. She traveled throughout Europe and participated in the lively interwar Polish modernist scene, working beside major Polish avant-garde visual artists who pioneered Unism. As a university student, she wrote poetry first in German before switching to Yiddish. In addition to her essays of art and literary criticism, she published two books of poetry in Yiddish - Tog-Figurn (Day-Figures, 1930) and Manekinen (Mannequins, 1934) - and a book of short sketches, Akatsyes Bliyen (Acacias Bloom, 1935) in both Polish and Yiddish. Her poems, prose, and essays also appeared in New York journals of poetry, including the Introspectivist monthly Inzikh and in Bodn. Together with her husband and son, Fogel was killed in the Lwów (Lviv) ghetto in 1942.