Set in Lithuania and South Africa, the Yiddish poetry of David Fram (1903-1988) memorialises an almost-obliterated Jewish culture in the old country and its surviving offshoots in the new. Frankel's study of the most important South African Yiddish poet foregrounds insightful close analysis of his poetry, situating it in a variety of cultural-historical contexts, which include immigration and exile, memory and postmemory, and the Holocaust. A representative sample of Fram's work is presented, in transliteration and also translation, as an Appendix.
By considering Fram side-by-side with other South African Yiddish poets, as well as such well-known figures as the poet Abraham Sutzkever and the artist Marc Chagall, Frankel convincingly argues for Fram's relevance in transnational modern Jewish culture.
Hazel Frankel is a Research Associate at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Her research encompasses aspects of Yiddish literature, and interactions between poetry and painting, focusing on issues of memory and postmemory, migration and exile, and the Holocaust. Her own writing includes a volume of poetry, Drawing from Memory, and two novels.