Gabriel Preil

Gabriel Preil

About Gabriel Preil

Gabriel Preil was a jewish american poet. He wrote in Hebrew and Yiddish. He was the last of the Haskala poets. The critic Yael Feldman has done significant work on Preil, focusing on the Yiddish influences in his Hebrew poetry. Preil translated Robert Frost and Walt Whitman into Hebrew. Many of Preil's poems focus on New York city, Maine, and his grandfather, a rabbi, who lived in Lithuania and wrote for Hamelitz. One of his poems is dedicated to the Israeli poet Leah Goldberg: Leah's Absence. Another references Abraham Mapu; others, Jacob Glatstein and Mendele Mocher Sforim.
Feldman writes of Preil's Yiddish and American atmosphere, One could say that Preil's life and art are a manifestation of two diametrically opposite movements: His physical biography led him further away from Israeli soil, but, through his artistic activity, he tenaciously bridged the distance and successfully approached the contemporary sources of his poetic medium. In order to do this, he had to cross two language barriers: Yiddish, his European mother tongue, which continued to be the language spoken at home throughout his life, and English, the language he acquired in his new home-country and which soon became a rich literary source for young Preil, the avid reader.

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