Yosef Kerler

From a Bird's Cage to a Thin Branch: The Selected Poems of Yosef Kerler, translated by Maia Evrona (White Goat Press, 2023)

The first Yiddish/English bilingual edition of one of Yiddish literature’s most vital post-war poets. Born in the Ukrainian town of Haysin and raised in Crimea, Yosef Kerler was perhaps the only Yiddish poet to publish poetry written in the gulag. He would later become one of the first prominent refuseniks. This collection proves strikingly timely, with the poet’s complicated relationship to his “cradle-land” echoing throughout, in poems of Ukrainian forests and folk heroes, of the Vorkuta Gulag and Babi Yar.

About the Author

Yosef Kerler (1918–2000), was a Yiddish poet, lyricist, and literary editor. Yoysef Kerler was born in Haysyn (Rus., Gaisin), southern Ukraine. Settling in Israel, Kerler reinvigorated the then still substantial group of Yiddish authors living in Jerusalem by organizing and establishing the Jerusalem branch of the Israeli Yiddish Writers and Journalists Association. He edited a number of books and in 1973 founded the annual collection of literature and culture Yerusholaymer Almanakh (Jerusalem Almanac), which he edited and published until his last days. His works have been translated into Russian, Chuvash, Hebrew, English, Spanish, Swedish, and French.

About the Translator

Maia Evrona is a poet, writer and translator. Her translations of Yiddish poetry have received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Literary Translators Association, and the Yiddish Book Center. Her first full-length collection, From a Bird's Cage to a Thin Branch; The Selected Poems of Yosef Kerler, was published by White Goat Press in 2023, while over seventy of her translations of Avrom Sutzkever have appeared in literary journals. Her own poetry has been supported with two joint Fulbright Scholar Awards to Spain and Greece. She has been characterized as a representative of a new generation of Yiddish poet-translators.