Jewish Bookland / The Jewish Book Council
New York/ November-December 1945
By Jacob Kabakoff
El Ha-Ayin V'nivka (Unto The Cleft Void)
By Abraham Regelson (60 pages, Tel-Aviv, Am Oved 1945)
The publication of this volume of poems by the American Hebrew poet and essayist, Abraham Regelson, marks the completion of a project begun five years ago. At that time a committee was set up to issue Regelson's collected writings in three volumes. Two of the volumes were published in this country: M'lo ha-Talit Alim (Shawlful of Leaves), a book of penetrating essays and conversations, and Sham ha-Bedolah (There the Crystal Is), a collection of legends and visions in vowel-pointed Hebrew. It is noteworthy that Am Oved (Working People), the publishing arm of the Palestine Labor Federation, has recently seen fit to publish the concluding volume of the author's poems, thus bringing the project to a close.
Collected Poems of Regelson
The collected poems of Regelson are distinguished by profundity of thought, and a highly original style of presentation. It is characteristic of the poet that for the name of his volume he has gone to Solomon Ibn Gabirol's renowned philosophical poem "The Royal Crown". This is in keeping with the general philosophical quality of many of his own poems. In dealing with the eternal problems of man, such as life and death, love and hate, Regelson transports us to another dimension as it were – to the life of primitive man, and in the latter's struggles and gropings we see mirrored our own conflicts and doubts. The poet transmits this message of the past most forcefully in his poem "Song of Perfection". He succeeds in striking a lighter philosophical note in a poem called "Torah from China", in which he makes the characters on a Chinese teapot come to life, and speak words of wisdom. The longest poem in the book, "Cain and Abel", masterfully reinterprets the Biblical story as a struggle between two powerful forces for the control of mankind.
A delightful contrast to Regelson's philosophical poems, which perforce are clothed in a heavy style, is offered by his shorter pieces, dealing with various phases of Palestinian life, as well as by those which bear an autobiographical stamp.
Notable Contribution to Hebrew Literature
The concluding section brings us translations of Blake's "Book of Thel", and of poems by Wordsworth, Whitman, Housman, Coupin, Kilmer and Aiken. These bear eloquent testimony to the poet's versatility and literary accomplishments. Regelson's book of poems is a notable contribution to Hebrew literature. He is an author and poet who unquestionably occupies a foremost rank in the American school of Hebrew letters.