Harvard Professor Emeritus, Ruth Wisse, spoke yesterday at the 4th annual Naomi Prawer Kadar Memorial Lecture at YIVO on “Abraham Sutzkever: The Power in Poetry.” Wisse discussed Sutzkever’s coming of age in Vilna in the 1920s and 30s when Yiddish poetry was the favored creative outlet of its Jewish youth. For him, poetry—but only if good enough—was more than self-expression, more than beauty and truth: it was the endurance that is manifest in nature and in the Jewish people. In this talk, Wisse, an acclaimed literary scholar and public thinker, put Sutzkever’s poetry to his own test.
Professor David Roskies (Jewish Theological Seminary) delivered personal introductory remarks about his and Naomi’s shared beginnings at Yugntruf, Youth for Yiddish.
Naomi Prawer Kadar, a friend and colleague of Wisse and Roskies, was a Sutzkever aficionado.