4145 Country Club Rd
Madison, WI 53711
Professor Sunny Yudkoff – “A Tubercular Eden: Yiddish Literature of the American West”
In American Yiddish poetry of the early twentieth century, the skyscrapers, subways, and grit of New York dominate. But the New York skyline was not the only thing that Yiddish writers set their sights on as they worked to find their voices in the American literary landscape. In this talk, we’ll turn our attention Westward, away from the urban center of cultural production to the peripheral Yiddish literary space of Denver, Colorado. There, a cohort of tubercular Yiddish poets would congregate, “taking the cure” in the Mile High City’s mountain air and producing poetry at the foot of the Rockies. As we’ll see, a diagnosis of tuberculosis, perhaps counterintuitively, offered Yiddish poets new natural vistas, new collaborative spaces, and even a new language—English—with which to express themselves.