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Buttonhook Press 2022 Chapbook Series
Poetry: All forms & styles

Gabriel Rosenstock

A Sweater for the Tayfel

A Celebration of the Art of Issachar Ber Ryback

(Click on the title to explore or download the free PDF.)

About the poet:
Gabriel Rosenstock (born 1949) is a prolific writer, in Irish and English, for adults and children alike. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. He is a poet who also writes haiku, tanka, essays, novels and plays, author-translator of over 200 books. In A Sweater for the Tayfel, Irish poet and haiku master Gabriel Rosenstock helps to bring the lost world of Ryback to life. For the most part, Yiddish was the language of the village life depicted in Ryback’s paintings and lithographs. (The word ‘tayfel’ in the title means ‘devil’). A bilingual writer, Rosenstock believes that a light goes out in the universe every time a language dies.

About the Artist:
Issachar Ber Ryback (1897-1935) was painter, graphic artist, illustrator and sculptor. He was born in Yelizavetgrad (now Kirovo), Ukraine, and studied in Moscow. He also studied Jewish folk art. Ryback lived in Moscow, Berlin, Minsk, and Paris and is famous for his depictions of Russian Jewish life, including pogroms – attacks on Jews. His father was killed in a pogrom. Ryback depicted his Jewish homeland in Ukraine much like I. B. Singer depicted the Jewish way of life in Poland and the New World in unforgettable short stories and novels. Had he lived longer, Issachar Ber Ryback (1897-1935) would surely have become as well known today as his great contemporary, Marc Chagall.

Image: Synagogue in Pianov Sokolski (detail) by Issachar Ber Ryback (1897 – 1935). Oil on canvas. 57 x 77 inches. 1917. Public domain.

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