Over the course of a lifetime's worth of beautiful poems as well as translations from Yiddish that read like beautiful poems in English Richard Fein has created the song of himself and of his Brooklyn--Jewish world. It is a world preserved in lines that are a marvel of vigilant always fascinated attention. In its sheer descriptive capacities his verse is as open to radiant marvels and erotic candor as it is aware of the abrupt horrors of brute historical reality. Fein listens so closely and so deeply to the voices of filial memory that his Hebrew Bible poems speak to us in the same intimate and dramatic idiom as his family poems. This is poetry that in its undeviating focus of selfless attention enlarges our scope of human dignity and responsibility.
Richard J. Fein has published eight books of poetry two books of translations of Yiddish poetry a memoir of Yiddish a critical study and a book of personal essays. For many years he taught English and American literature at SUNY New Paltz he now lives in Cambridge MA.
Richard Fein's lively variegated poetry takes partly after Walt Whitman: personhood present on every page the voice filling out long lines by turns sensual witty plunging rife with detail and riven by sentiment dyed American. For Fein an arc runs between Whitman and Yankev Glatshteyn whom he has translated: between the motley jostling energies of American experience and the resonant receding Jewish past. He can bond with Whitman at Timber Creek and shimmy into a booth in a New York coffee shop with Glatshteyn. -John Felstiner FORWARD Magazine May 2 2003