Complete Collection of Poems

Semyon Frug


When Semyon G. Frug died in 1916 in Odessa, over 100,000 admirers followed the procession to his final resting place. Writing primarily in Russian, he was the first ever global Jewish poet that attained prominence throughout Europe, China, Latin America and the United States. The first Jewish pioneers who went to Palestine in 1882, BILUims, were inspired by Frug’s poetry and sang his songs. In 1910 his complete three volumes of poetry was translated into Yiddish and published in New York.

Today his name remains forgotten and erased from the memory of five consecutive generations of Russian Jews. Liberty Publishing House is extremely proud to amend this injustice and to close a cultural gap of important Jewish heritage by publishing the complete poems of Frug.

Frug was the first Russian-language poet that focused primarily on the Jewish theme, and while he wrote mostly in Russian, his native languages were Hebrew and Yiddish. His poems, however, were far from narrow and closed expressions of nationalism. While Frug had a very broad appeal among the Russian Jewry, his work was also read, studied and enjoyed by prominent members of the Russian cultural elite.

So what historical events and forces led to Frug being erased from the literary annals of Russian poetry?

There are several explanations.

Revived Russian Jewry in the 1860s entered into two consecutive historical movements: first “Palestinian” – which embodied Frug’s dream of Jewish resettlements in Palestine as individuals idyllic farmers who will till the land of their ancestors. This stage evolved into a political one defined as the “Zionist” – which called for the establishment of a Jewish State. This “Zionist” period muted down Frug’s voice which no longer sounded as powerful and prophetic.

An addition and significant force that relegated Frug into a forbidden poet was the direct result of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. The Soviet regime and its cadres of literary critics saw Frug as a petty-bourgeois poet that had no place in the evolving new Soviet society. Finally, Frug’s decline was facilitated by the emergence of a whole new generation of great talented poets ,such as Haim Bialik, and Shaul Tchernikhovsky who grew up on Frug’s poetry to that extent that Tchernikhovsky copied Frug’s poem “The Last Battle” describing Saul’s trepidations before his last battle and titled it “Saul in Ein Dor”.

Liberty Publishing is happy to reclaim the complete poems Semyon Frug for Russian readers in the 21st century which have been unavailable for over a hundred and fifteen years. This edition is a reprint of the last edition edited by Frug in 1895.

The reader will enjoy many happy and splendid hours. This volume should become a family heirloom in each house that cherishes Jewish heritage.

Complete collection of poems. 700 pages, hardcover.

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