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Artistry & Activism: The Poetry of Irena Klepfisz

By Ursula McTaggart from the May/June 2007 issue of Against the Current

“AS A JEWISH child growing up in Nazi-occupied Poland, Irena Klepfisz had parents who taught her only Polish so that she could pass for Aryan and escape the concentration camps. It wasn’t until after the war that she began to learn Yiddish, the language she would try to maintain and revive in her adult work as a poet.

For Klepfisz, then, language has always been intensely political. As a child, language meant life and death, and today, in her work as a professor at Barnard College in New York, Yiddish is a remnant of pre-Holocaust Jewish culture and a sign of hope for the future. But attuned to the political nature of even the language used for communication, Klepfisz also uses her poetic language to call our attention to urgent political issues in our own lives.”

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.solidarity-us.org/node/527
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