Ode to the Dove

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

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


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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