Yankev Glatshteyn's "Good Night, World"

Resource Kit by
Anita Norich

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Yankev Glatshteyn (also known as Jacob Glatstein or Jacob Gladstone) (1896–1971) was one of the most famous poets of American Yiddish literature, and this poem became the most often translated, anthologized, and analyzed of his many works of poetry and prose. Glatshteyn came to New York from Lublin, Poland, in 1914 at the age of 18. Within four years he was studying law at New York University, but he was drawn to journalism and poetry, which became his life’s work. In 1934, Glatshteyn went back to Lublin to see his dying mother. He witnessed first-hand the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany and Poland after Hitler’s rise to power. “Good Night, World,” (“A gute nakht, velt”) is a compelling response to that trip and to contemporaneous world events.

Cover image: The Jewish Quarter of Lublin, Poland, 1938.