Avrom Sutzkever, one of the great Yiddish writers of the 20th century, was born in 1913 in Smorgon, now Belarus, and died in 2010 in Tel Aviv. He grew up in Siberia, where the family fled the First World War, speaking Kirghiz, and attended a Polish-speaking Hebrew high school after he returned and settled in Vilna. It is quite astonishing that he found his literary home among Yiddish poets. His early verse, combining traditional and modernist elements, is almost devoid of Jewish references.
The Holocaust had a profound effect on Sutzkever’s life and creativity, and his poetry began to feature Jewish imagery more strongly. After emigrating to Tel Aviv in 1947, his use of Jewish imagery and biblical and religious motifs developed even more. During his long life Sutzkever strove for the continuity of Yiddish literature both in his new homeland and internationally.
Still My Word Sings, edited and translated by Sutzkever scholar Heather Valencia, is the first bilingual edition of his work that presents poetry from all periods of his creative life.