Preil, Gabriel

▪ 1994

      U.S. poet (b. Aug. 21, 1911, Tartu [Dorpat], Estonia—d. June 5, 1993, Jerusalem, Israel), was internationally acclaimed for his introspective and lyrical poems written in Hebrew, which he deemed the language of his heart. Though he lived most of his life in the U.S., he was a powerful influence on younger Israeli poets, both with his own works and with his translations into Hebrew of such American poets as Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and Robinson Jeffers. Preil, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1922 and became a citizen in 1928, settled in New York City, where he attended the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and the Teachers Institute (both now part of Yeshiva University). Preil drew inspiration from the New England and New York City autumn landscapes, as evidenced in such volumes as Nof shemesh u-khfor (1944; "Landscape of Sun and Frost") and Autumn Music (1979; poems in English translation). Some of his other poems were collected in Mapat 'erev (1960; "Map of Evening"), Ner mul kokhavim (1954; "Candle Under the Stars"), and Mi-tokh zeman va-nof (1972; "Of Time and Place"). Among Preil's many honours were the Louis La Med award for Hebrew literature (1942), the National Jewish Book Award for poetry in Hebrew (Kovner Memorial) from the Jewish Book Council and the Jewish Welfare Board (1955 and 1962), and Israel's prestigious Bialik Prize (1992).

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▪ American poet
born Aug. 21, 1911, Yuryev [now Tartu], Estonia, Russian Empire
died June 5, 1993, Jerusalem, Israel

      Jewish Estonian poet who, although he lived most of his life in the United States, was internationally known for his introspective and lyrical poems written in Hebrew. He was a powerful influence on younger Israeli poets both through his own works and through his translations into Hebrew of such American poets as Robert Frost (Frost, Robert), Carl Sandburg (Sandburg, Carl), and Robinson Jeffers (Jeffers, Robinson).

      Preil immigrated to the United States in 1922 and became a citizen in 1928. He settled in New York City, where he attended the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and the Teachers Institute (both now part of Yeshiva University). Evidence of Preil's love of New England and New York City autumn landscapes can be found in such volumes as Nof shemesh u-kefor (1944; “Landscape of Sun and Frost”), Ner mul kokhavim (1954; “Candle Under the Stars”), Mappat erev (1960; “Map of Evening”), and Mi-tokh zeman vanof (1972; “Of Time and Place”). Autumn Music (1979) and Sunset Possibilities and Other Poems (1985) are collections of his poems in English translation.

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Universalium. 2010.

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