Ode to the Dove

An illustrated, bilingual edition of a Yiddish poem by Abraham Sutzkever

by Zackary Sholem Berger, translator, and Liora Ostroff, Illustrator


In stock

About this book

“The greatest poet of the Holocaust” – The New York Times

Avrom Sutzkever (1913-2010) was an acclaimed Yiddish poet, a freedom fighter, and a witness in the Nuremberg trials. His epic poem Ode to the Dove is now available in English for the first time in its entirety, translated by Zackary Sholem Berger, with illustrations by Liora Ostroff.

Sutzkever’s visionary imagery moves from the past to the future, from Dante to Chagall, from the streets that stone themselves to the Reed Sea. He seeks the dove compelling him to write, wishing to feed her silver syllables. But what happens at the end of world-spanning travels, when the poet and the dove finally meet?

“Usually one reads Sutskever’s poems in poetry anthologies, one after the other. Berger’s book slowly soaks in the difficult rhythm and long lines of a single poem. On each page, the reader’s gaze wanders between the Yiddish source above and the English translation below, and between the pages one pauses at the charming background illustrations by Liora Ostroff. No digital copy can replace this experience of slowly reading and turning the pages.”

—Mikhail Krutikov in the Yiddish Forward



Advance Praise

Sutzkever’s definitive statement on the creative imperative in the shadow of catastrophe and on the transcendent power of the Yiddish word has been artfully translated by Zackary Sholem Berger. Liora Ostroff’s illustrations make this an elegant volume for lovers of poetry.

—Justin Cammy, translator of Sutzkever, From the Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg: Memoir and Testimony, and Professor of World Literatures, Smith College

About the Authors

Zackary Sholem Berger lives multiple literary lives. He is a poet and translator working in (as well as between) Yiddish, Hebrew, and English. His work has appeared in multiple venues, including Poetry magazine, the Yiddish Forward, and Asymptote; themes of his verse range from the philosophical and medical to the immediate problems of his adopted city Baltimore. In the Yiddish world he might be best known as a regular contributor to the Forverts and the translator of Curious George and Dr. Seuss into Yiddish. He edited and translated Sutzkever: Essential Prose published by White Goat Press.

As an internal medicine physician, clinical epidemiologist, and bioethicist, Dr. Berger’s clinical, educational, and research work intersects shared decision making, patient-centered care and evidence-based medicine. He is the author of Talking to Your Doctor: A Patient’s Guide to Communication in the Exam Room and Beyond and editor of  Health for Everyone: A Guide to Politically and Socially Progressive Healthcare.

Liora Ostroff is a Baltimore-based painter whose work explores themes such as queerness, Jewishness, violence, and the idiosyncrasies of life in Baltimore. Her community at Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebl nourishes her art practice and has inspired her to explore Jewish notions of justice and art via collaborative writing and performance. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2016 with a BFA in painting.