A version of this post originally appeared in the Yiddish Forverts.
Most people associate Yiddish poetry with grandmothers, immigrant workers or the horrors of the Holocaust, if they have associations at all.
What certainly does not come to mind are frank and graphic descriptions of sexual acts. That may soon change thanks to a new documentary, “Burning Off the Page,” which explores the life and work of the Yiddish poet Celia Dropkin, whose haunting and beautiful erotic poems stunned New York’s Yiddish literary world in the 1920’s. Eli Gorn and Bracha Feldman’s film examines how Dropkin’s poems continue to speak to and inspire readers today and how they have been reinterpreted by diverse communities seeking meaning in the Yiddish literary past.
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