In the Illuminated Dark- Selected Poems by Tuvia Ruebner

Translated by Rachel Tzvia Back
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illuminatedHardcover: 396 pages
Publisher: Hebrew Union College Press
.                    University of Pittsburgh Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0878202552
ISBN-13: 978-0878202553
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Reviewed by g emil reutter
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Rachel Izvia Back sets the tone for this collection in the first sentence of her introduction to this work by Poet Tuvia Ruebner.  Loss defines the crossbeams and chronicles of Tuvia Ruebner’s life. His first collection of poems was published in 1957 and this selected poetry collection published in 2014. Ruebner at age 90, continues to write much as the American poet Stanley Kunitz continued to do late in life.
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Ruebner as a teenager was on the abyss of the holocaust. In 1941 with a ninth grade education, (the Nazi’s prohibited Jews from attending school), Ruebner’s parents arranged and paid for his transport to Palestine thus escaping the death camps. His wave goodbye was the last time he would see them in this life as his entire family was engulfed in the flames of Nazi genocide. He would carry this heavy loss of family throughout his life.
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He began in Palestine as a farmer in a communal setting. Loss again tagged him when his young wife was killed in a bus accident that left Ruebner seriously injured. After a three month recovery he returned home and due to his injuries, became a teacher in the local school. Ruebner focused on poetry and teaching, became a university professor, received early acclaim in Europe yet it wasn’t until the 1980s that Israel began to bestow acknowledgment upon the poet. Loss again hit the poet as his son traveling in South America disappeared never to be heard from again.
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The poet, surrounded by violence and loss for almost a century found comfort in his art of poetry. He has taught us that creating brings comfort, no matter how heartbreaking the subject matter. His words sing from the page rescuing beauty from the horror that has surrounded him. A master of German lyrical poetry in his early years he turned to writing in Hebrew with the same intensity and attention to detail. His poems, his journey, his life are an inspiration. Tzvia Back noted Ruebner’s attention to language, form and sound in her splendid introduction. She has with great success brought this attention to the English translations of Ruebner’s Hebrew poems, no small task.
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g emil reutter 2-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadlephia, Pa. (USA). http://gereutter.wordpress.com/

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