Yosl Mlotek

in Voices from Shanghai

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226181660
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226181684 | DOI:
Yosl Mlotek

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter presents “A Letter...” (1943), a poem written by Yosl Mlotek. Throughout the poem, Mlotek evokes the imagery of distance, of unreachability: writing letters about heaven, stars, sunlessness, clouds, the unreality of dreams—all to express his sense of dissociation and displacement. Whereas dissociation is certainly in part the source of his anguish, it is not the message he wants most to convey. Rather, it is the affirmation in the thrice-repeated promise that he will send word, that he will return. Love, that precious gift, has not abandoned him; it continues to nourish his loneliness. And bearing this gift he will come back. The poet's thoughts were less for himself than for those whom he had left behind and from whom he was indefinitely separated.

Keywords: poem; Yosl Mlotek; dissociation; displacement; loneliness

Chapter.  426 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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